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Consumer Insight: Definition, Importance, Examples & More

Updated: Feb 23


Consumer insights written on a mini handheld chalk board on a table next to a glass of iced tea and macaroons

Gain a better understanding and knowledge of what consumer insight is, why it's important to brands along with well-known examples and more.


Table of contents:


[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.]


What is consumer insight?


Consumer insight otherwise known as customer insight looks to explore individuals’ behaviour and the reasons why for the benefit of a product or service to better meet customer needs and wants as well as to increase market share and sales of the brand.


This is an interpretation of a combination of competitor information, customer feedback, market research, digital analytics, social media listening and customer databases to better understand what influences customer behaviour including views, attitudes, motivations, desires, so what they look for in a product or service from essential needs to the nice to haves and why.


Consumer insight can be used to find out why a particular product line is experiencing a drop in sales, in evaluating new product ideas, what are the perceptions of your brand, assessing the success rate of a product to a new target audience (country or sector) and how to boost marketing conversions.


Importance of consumer insight


The key reason why consumer insight is important is that it allows brands the capability to customise their product or service offering around the needs and wants of their target audience by gathering and understanding the behaviour, attitudes, motivations and mindset of their customers. The financial rewards for businesses that utilise consumer insights to have a grasp and appreciation of their customers behaviour and action this in their business strategies is great.


In this way customer journeys and personas can be developed and the relevant decisions can be made to address any issues, develop strategies for the current offering and seek to explore untapped growth opportunities.


Benefits of customer insight


Below is a summary of benefits for using customer insights:

  • Increase in sales revenue by drawing key insights from the data and information gathered and develop relevant marketing and business strategies to attract your target audience.

  • Better understanding and engagement with your customers to enable brands to personalise and customise product and service offerings.

  • Help to develop long customer relationships by understanding their behaviour, needs and desires.

  • Support customer retention and the capability of forecasting customer churn.

  • Find out the optimal pricing of your products via research and analysis of your target audience.

  • Better targeting of marketing promotions to appeal to potential customers by knowing the profile of your target audience, what media channels they use, timing, promotions based on previous purchase history, ad messaging, testing the appeal of ad concepts and knowing the key themes that will draw and engage with your audience.

  • Can find out new opportunities for growth of your brand such as cross selling or discovering untapped audiences to promote your brand to.



5 consumer insight examples


Below are 5 consumer insight examples of well-known brands to give you a better idea of how consumer insights are applied in the real world.


1. Netflix use of consumer insights in applying advanced algorithms to give subscribers personalised content recommendations based on their viewing behaviour

Netflix uses algorithms to analyse subscribers viewing behaviour like the type of movies or series they watch, during what time slots, in what regions and if there is more than one user under the subscription, which is then personalised by letting you know of other films with the same genre, theme or actors that they may like to watch based on their preferences.


This is not just for personalised recommendations of viewing content but also applying segmentation of their customer base will let Netflix know what type of programmes and movies particular groups like to watch and helps them plan for future Netflix productions like Stranger Things and Narcos or purchasing the rights to show existing relevant content. This goes beyond country level as you have series like Squid Games or Money Heist, which are popular in countries that’s not in their native language.


This is a great example of using internal sources of customer insight with the help of advanced technical applications to enhance customer’s experience (CX).


2. Nike using consumer insights from their membership scheme to time personalised offers and recommend tailored fitness programs and sports equipment to generate more sales

Memberships schemes are another opportunity for brands to draw consumer insights from, which is what Nike did via it’s app where it offered customers the Nike Plus membership rewards programme.


So, members not only record their personal details during sign up but also information about their hobbies, training routines and sports activities in order to receive personalised special offers and discounts (reward points linked to a website) as well as events and specialist sports advice.


As Nike has data and information of members buying behaviour, preferences and interests they are able to forecast when customers are likely to buy again and time their personalised product offers to its members along with customised fitness programmes and the sports equipment they will need, so more opportunities to generate sales amongst their customer base.


3. Spotify sharing consumer insights of audio content usage from their platform annually both at a total and personal level with listeners to discuss and share

Spotify does something quite different from other brands by publishing the data and insights (annual Wrapped experience campaign) gathered from its listeners every year to its app users, so things like what was the most popular songs and albums listened to, top artists and podcasts.


Spotify also reveals listeners own personal listening habits of their top songs, genres and podcasts along with how long they have spent listening to the audio content for the past year. Listeners can also share their personal Wrapped insights on social media.


This all helps to generate interest amongst consumers and engagement from their target audience due to the element of human nature of being curious with listeners comparing themselves to other users. For example, they may check out songs of a band they are not familiar with as a lot of other people are listening to them. Due to this the Spotify service is likely to be used more often from its existing customer base and attract potential new subscribers through word-of-mouth recommendations and buzz from social media.


4. Beats by Dr. Dre used insights from their research of athletes being inspired and motivated by listening to music to get in the zone to run the successful ‘Hear What You Want’ ad campaign

Beats by Dr. Dre ran an ad campaign in 2014 called ‘Hear What You Want’ following research they conducted found that music helps to not only improve focus but also stimulate and motivate athletes. So, the campaign featured athletes wearing headphones to drown out the outside noise and get ‘into the zone’ whenever they are competing with positive thoughts to inspire them.


Consumers responded to that in seeing their sporting icons listening to music using the Beats headphones, which they can somewhat relate to in being motivated and inspired by music in whatever situation they are in and do their best, which was very much the message of the campaign.


5. Budweiser utilising consumer insights drawn from social media listening to run a viral digital ad campaign around SuperBowl LV to raise awareness of the Covid-19 vaccine

In the run up to SuperBowl LV, Budweiser ran a digitalised ad campaign in raising awareness of the Covid 19 vaccine, where the messaging was focused around how people were resilient during the pandemic featuring snippets of homemade videos, which went viral during that time. Budweiser also donated the money that was going to be used for TV ad air time during Super Bowl LV to be used instead for promotion of the vaccine drive during the course of the year.


This all stemmed from Budweiser listening to consumers online through social media listening, where they used these insights to produce an ad campaign that highlights the positive qualities and associations of the brand to consumers in helping to further build its brand reputation.


Main types of consumer insight


Below are the main types of consumer insight to be aware of:


New product development to tailor products to the needs and wants of your target audience

In developing new products, research will need to be carried out to cater to the needs and desires of their customers as well as addressing any pain points from their existing range. This will also need to be tested and evaluated for effectiveness, appeal and any other feedback that can be used in the design process.


Advertising to improve the effectiveness of campaigns and produce more engaging ad concepts

Consumer insights can be used to test, measure and evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, which can be used to not only improve the appeal of ad concepts but also to boost existing campaigns and benefit from learnings for any future activity.


Sales to generate more revenue for the brand on a consistent basis and seek untapped growth opportunities

Internal sales data is used to monitor if sales have gone up or down and then you can seek to find out why from other sources (feedback and research) if the former is occurring and gaining a proper understanding of the issue and what’s driving it before decisions can be made to resolve it.


Also, insights can be used to find out more about untapped opportunities for growth whether that’s new markets, cross selling or other initiatives like membership schemes to predict when customers next purchase is likely to be and time personalised promotions to members (see the Nike example in the above section).


Branding for not only marketing purposes but also how the business is perceived and could be improved

Branding is a vital component of any business from what it stands for and the values associated with it, which is where marketing and customer experiences plays its part. Positive brand perceptions and associations are vital for the long-term success of the brand, so it should be regularly monitored to ensure high levels are maintained or seek improvement, which will be interlinked with advertising through the effectiveness of the ad messaging as well as the service that customers receive or if there has been any negative publicity.


Online presence to maintain and strengthen the appeal and engage with your target audience

Social media listening tools are great to help understand your customers better by tracking both the positive and negative mentions of your brand online and on social media and respond if necessary if it’s the latter to remedy any issues and look responsive to the needs of your customers.


UX testing is another type of insight to see how visitors interact with your website, so things like navigation, layout of the website and easy to find answers and information of related content. This all helps to improve visitors experience of your site and maintain a strong presence online.


Customer loyalty to improve customer retention for the long term

Monitoring customer churn rates by using your customer database and seek to find out why they have moved on elsewhere through customer feedback and using research surveys that also track CSAT, CES (Customer Effort Score) and NPS (Net Promoter Score), which are good indicators of customer loyalty. NPS measures the likelihood of customers recommending your brand to others, while CES is more about how much effort did the customers need to apply when interacting with the brand.


Consumer insight tools


Before you can delve into the data to draw insights from to make key decisions, you need the tools to source this information. The following are the most common type of consumer insight tools:


Research surveys

Research surveys to track brand health, evaluate ideas, find out the main drivers, source feedback and run key performance indicators like CSAT and NPS.



Qualitative research

Qualitative research with the use of focus groups and in-depth interviews that you can run online including building online communities of customers to have open in-depth discussions about ideas, issues and support.


Digital analytics

Digital analytics which include Google Analytics and other similar advanced platforms like Ahrefs and Semrush to cover the performance of your websites and learn what your competitors are doing online as well. Plus, even source the latest topics of interest with Google Trends. These are all great sources of secondary research.


Customer database

A customer database is a great internal source of information of your customer's profile and purchase behaviour to help with segmentation and personalised offers.


Social media listening tools

As mentioned earlier social media listening tools to monitor online mentions of your brand and other related topic areas to get a true understanding of what your customers are thinking and conveying onto others in order for you to respond whether that's directly or strategically.


How to do consumer insights?

There are 4 main steps to follow to get started with consumer insights:


  1. Firstly, set up objectives for what you want to find out and how.

  2. Ensure you know what resources you have available like finance, staff or partnerships with third parties to help answer these objectives.

  3. Decide on the best sources of information and collection methods to be used for the particular audience that you want to target such as existing customers or a new customer segment.

  4. Plan for how you will apply these learnings from the data collected whether this is further analysis or something actionable and how this will impact the relevant elements of your business.


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