From Market Research to Consumer Insights

For the past several years there has been a big debate about whether companies who manufacture and distribute products should be focusing more on market research or on consumer insights. In many industries, consumer insights is a fairly new term that has just begun to be understood and applied to marketing strategies.

While there is a continuous debate over the two terms, there are those who would like to argue that there doesn’t need to be a choice between the two but that corporations can effectively use both research and insights to discover what their customers want and need. In fact it could be that the two go hand in hand.

In order to understand how market research leads to consumer insights and how consumer insights lead to ongoing market research it might first be helpful to understand the meaning of each. According to various online dictionaries the following are their respective definitions:

  • Market Research – The gathering and studying of information and data relating to consumer preferences, purchasing power, and needs
  • Consumer Insights – An intrinsic need or desire of the consumer that impacts their attitudes and behaviors

In essence, market research does all the gathering of data from consumers. It is the surveys, focus groups, questionnaires, and interviews that are done to get the information the company needs about their products, packaging, and marketing strategies. Research leads to reports, graphs, and data that can then be analyzed.

Market research and data just aren’t enough anymore to really grab the attention of the consumer. Customers who are buying things want to feel special and want to know that their needs were in mind when the product or the marketing campaign was created. That’s where consumer insights come in. By combining the numbers and data with the understanding of customer needs, beliefs, and values companies gain a better understanding of how to reach their target audience.

After all, selling a product isn’t just about manufacturing a quality item, it’s about the packaging, advertising, marketing, and getting the product on and off the shelves as quickly as possible. Without listening to consumers and fulfilling their needs the efforts to make a reliable product are in vain.

In summary, any good company who wants to be noticed or simply improve their products and marketing not only needs a good research team but should employ a team of “insight specialists” as well. The people who gather and analyze the numbers will be a huge asset to those that understand the psychology of human behavior and can help turn those numbers into sales.


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