How to ... gain the edge with customer insight

There are few tougher challenges for marketers than identifying and influencing what shapes customers' attitudes and prompts their behaviour. So what's next for customer insight?

Move over, market research. Just because you can ask customers questions doesn't mean you should. Companies spend millions of pounds on this, but customer insight has moved on from market-research capabilities, focus groups and survey skills.

Don't ask or look for what you already know. Think relevancy. Although customers might interact with your brand in thousands of ways, there are only four things you need to consider: which brand was involved; how did the customer interact; how did they feel about their experience; and, most importantly, will they come back for more?

Is it all about the (big) data? Hardly a month goes by without hearing about "big data", information mined largely from multiple, online data sources such as social media and transactional data. However, just because you might have access to stacks more data, does not mean your brand will have the answers to everything.

Insight isn't a one-off project. Your customer will often evolve as quickly as the digital channels that your brand operates in, so you will need to adapt your insight strategy accordingly.

Be careful with your evaluation. It is not necessary for consumers to always "like" what your brand is doing. What matters is that your insight provokes a reaction and that you connect with consumers on an emotional level.

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