Since acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, most businesses today understand the importance of delivering the best possible customer experience.By doing so, they want to ensure that their customers are satisfied with the brand and the churn rate (the rate at which customers stop doing business with an entity) remains at its minimum.
Moreover, it helps to keep your customers satisfied because customer retention helps not just in maintaining a steady revenue stream but also in driving profits. Statistics reveal, for instance, that the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
This brings us to the question of what can businesses do to improve their customer experience. In order to deliver a good, personalized customer experience businesses need to understand their customers in as much detail as possible. So, how should businesses do that? This is where customer insights come into the picture.
What are customer insights?
Customer insights are essentially the interpretations that businesses use to understand how their customers behave, how they perceive the brand, and what do they feel about their interactions with the brand.
These insights are arrived at by analyzing customer behavior in conjunction with different types of data, and they ultimately help the businesses understand what their customers want (or need) and what would motivate them to engage in a mutually profitable relationship with the business.
Apart from improving customer experience, it is also common for brands to leverage these customer insights for driving successful marketing campaigns. For example, Hinge analyzed their own user data to derive an insight that 81% of Hinge users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app.
Then, they used this insight along with others to create a page called “The Dating Apocalypse” and created a campaign with the tagline, “Let’s be real”, to challenge the existing perception of online dating.
The insight-driven campaign was used to execute Hinge’s vision of presenting an honest view of its users, far from the polished, idealized images portrayed by most dating apps.
How to collect customer insights?
The idea of collecting customer insights is not new among marketers and business owners. Traditionally, businesses collected insights through sources like surveys, focus groups, and questionnaires, however, there are some intrinsic challenges associated with these methods.
For example, all of these techniques require active customer participation, something that is difficult to achieve that in today’s fast-paced world, and observer bias is common when straightforward questions are posed to the customers.
Moreover, due to the logistics involved in traditional ways of collecting insights, they focus on the customer’s past experience and run the risk of using outdated data that does not reflect updates/changes to the product or customer experience.
As data collection and analysis technologies have become more and more sophisticated over the years, these traditional sources of customer insights have been augmented with digital sources.
A few common examples of these digital sources are website behavior, web search patterns, CRMs and databases, social media conversations, forums, blogs, and online reviews. Compared to traditional sources, these are quicker, cheaper, and less biased.
How to do media monitoring for gathering insights?
Media monitoring refers to the act of monitoring digital media platforms (for example, product forums, chatrooms, social media sites, etc.) to keep an eye on what is being said about your brand, your customer experience, your industry, and your competitors.
It is also, of course, an indispensable part of the strategy you will need to gather useful consumer insights.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to perform effective media monitoring for gathering relevant insights:
Get the right media listening and analytics tool
If you are going to handle the media monitoring and the ensuing consumer insights analysis with an in-house team, you will need to invest in a sophisticated listening and analytics tool. This tool must fulfill the following conditions:
- It should fit the unique requirements of your business.
- It should cover all the platforms that are relevant to your brand.
- It should allow you a good degree of flexibility with filters that allow you to narrow down specific reports.
- The cost of getting your team trained and onboarded for using the tool should be financially viable for the business.
Businesses that do not want to get sidetracked from their primary goals often take the help of industry leaders like Epsilon to make sure that the customer insights they gather are precise and actionable.
Take out the time to do primary audience analysis
Your primary audiences are the people who directly receive your brand communications. In most cases, therefore, primary audience analysis is aimed at your existing customers and it provides you with a clear idea of how your brand identity is currently perceived by them.
Combing through relevant media channels with search queries focussed on your brand name and specific products will give you a large sample set of people who do business with you.
Once you have collected a large enough sample set of these mentions, you can begin to analyze the people who are talking about your brand and what is it that they are saying. Investing some resources in primary audience analysis at the beginning itself will surely go a long way towards getting accurate consumer insights for your business.
Try to discover the context in which your brand is often mentioned
It is no longer enough to do basic sentiment analysis for evaluating brand perception because the ways in which people interact on the Internet have become increasingly complex.
Sentiment analysis with anything less than state-of-the-art AI capabilities is also not able to take into account the constantly evolving Internet slang that is often specific to each media platform, and it struggles with human expressions like sarcasm.
Therefore, to gather truly useful customer insights with media monitoring, you will need to understand the main topics around which your brand is often mentioned. When you have a large enough data set, you can analyze it to detect patterns of repetition, and this way you will soon enough understand the context in which people are mentioning your brand.
Sometimes, this method of gathering insights may reveal surprising results, for example, according to Linkfluence, a significant number of users bring up the brand “Nike” while discussing Asia Pacific politics. Moreover, the bulk of these users are between ages 18-24, live in the USA, and mostly talk about the brand on Instagram.
Such unique and unexpected insights can be the fuel of some truly creative and original marketing campaigns that will set your business apart from the competition. That brings us to our next point of discussion.
Derive customer insights from your competitors
When you find out which media platforms are the most relevant for you and your industry, you can also analyze your major competitors to get customer insights.
This will inform you about the brands that have the highest engagement, find the maximum number of mentions from customers, and score high on positive sentiments. Then, you can look at what they are doing right and you can modify your marketing strategy accordingly.
Also, by looking at the bigger picture of your industry as a whole, you can understand an average customer in greater detail. It will give you more context and will help you understand if the behavior of your customers is in line with the customers of other brands.
Since the whole point of these exercises is to gain actionable insights, it is always good news to find something surprising because then you can use it to improve your branding and products.
While you invest precious resources in discovering consumer insights with media monitoring, it is important that you keep a track of your progress with relevant metrics and KPIs.
It will help you understand the exact difference that customer insights are making to your business and you will be able to make future decisions while taking the ROI into consideration.
However, by leveraging your business experience with these suggestions, you will surely end up with some exciting, actionable customer insights that prove transformative for your brand.