A Marketer’s Guide to Consumer Research

  • 28 Sep, 2022

  • 10 min.

28 Sep, 2022

10 min.

A Marketer’s Guide to Consumer Research

You are already aware that focusing on marketing is the key to boosting retention, evangelizing your consumer base, and nurturing existing consumers to improve sales. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a crystal ball to see what would work? We may not have one, but we sure have consumer research!

Consumer Research is not just about gathering data but about delivering value and building better relationships with your consumers. It is a template to follow and streamline your consumer marketing efforts. With data to guide you, you reduce the worries of going astray because of guesswork.

Treat consumer research like Sauron’s Ring and protect it like Gollum. It will help you delve deeper into your customer’s mindset and grab their attention. People are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads daily! That’s a crazy number, but it also reminds us how consumers’ attention spans are diminishing.

As a marketer, you may feel consumer research is for insights and research teams. But that’s where you are mistaken. Consumer Insights can be in various stages of marketing initiatives – 1) define a more accurate buyer persona, 2) improve the buyer’s journey, 3) provide a personalized experience while lead nurturing, 4) increase demand generation and 5) convey the right brand equity.

So, let’s help you start your consumer research journey. In this article, we cover it all-

What is Consumer Research?

Consumer research refers to gathering consumer information and learning about their needs, preferences, behaviors, consumption patterns etc.

Types of Consumer Research

Why Should Marketers Care

As a marketer, you may feel that the best way to promote your brand is by sharing the brand’s message with consumers. But targeting the wrong consumer base is a massive waste of time, effort, money and other resources.  The only way to know about your consumer base is by conducting effective research that yields actionable and reliable data. But brands rely on guesswork and spend years figuring out what went wrong.  

Consumers prefer brands that deliver value and are authentic. They want brands to know how they feel and only receive content about products and services that is relevant to them. Where time is money and consumers have the attention span of a goldfish, it is essential to grab their attention and continuously nurture them.

Building an authentic relationship with your consumers will help convert them into brand loyalists. But to reach that stage, you need to know your consumers’ motivations and problems. You don’t need to go to a Tarot card reader to know what will work for you. Here the real magic lies in the responses of your consumers.  

Modern Customer Journey

In this modern customer journey, consumer research helps you provide a personalised experience to your consumers. Let’s look at how consumer research fits in your marketing customer journey and why you, as a marketer, should conduct consumer research.

Brand Awareness

Content is an integral part of improving brand awareness. 46% of customers broke up with a brand because they received irrelevant content pushes. Be it blogs, videos, emails,  ads, reels, videos or any other content type you swear by; consumer research can help you make relevant content that will increase sales and improve brand awareness.

Findability

If you want more visibility for your brands or more foot fall in your store, you need to target the right audience to reach out to. Consumer research can help you identify and optimise your buyer persona and also help you get insights into the demography. If your product or service is not receiving as much traction, there might be a problem with your marketing strategy.

Reputation

64% of the customers expect customised interaction based on previous engagements. As a brand, if you align your marketing strategy to provide a personalised consumer experience, they will eventually become your brand evangelists. Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%!

Conversion

Consumer Research helps you retarget and increase brand recall by pushing relevant content and offers. It also enables you to identify their needs and the problems they are facing. Once you have all this data, you can easily align your brand messaging and offerings to deliver value to your consumers. This will help you convert potential customers to regular customers and increase brand loyalty.

Experience

Brands witnessed an 80% spike in revenue for brands that focus on enhancing customer experience. Customer experience is integral to the growth of a brand.

Do not just hear your consumer’s grievances; listen to them. Consumer research helps you understand your consumers’ mindset, behaviour and consumption patterns. With this information, you can provide your consumers with personalized and unforgettable experiences. After all, who doesn’t like standing in the spotlight?

Now that you understand that consumer research is essential for every stage in your customer journey, let’s look at how consumer research can improve your KPIs-

Validation

Consumer research helps validate your concepts and is a strong pillar for the ideation phase. With hard facts by your side, you can prove why your idea will work and gather support from your team and upper management.

Using Entropik Tech’s behavioural research platform, you can validate your ideas by getting unbiased insights using quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, facial coding and eye-tracking technologies. By tapping into your consumers’ subconscious minds, you can evaluate what they truly feel, the emotional triggers and what increases their attention and engagement.

Return-On-Investment (ROI)

It is a key performance indicator to evaluate your contribution to the brand’s profitability. Even though it is usually measured at a holistic level, you can show your credibility and potential by showcasing how you improved the ROI of your marketing spends.

Consumer Research is a good predictive measure of your marketing spends that business leaders are always looking for. To de-risk big spends and making data driven decisions.

Understanding Consumer Research 

Successful marketers are 242% more likely to conduct audience research at least once every quarter. 

Consumer research may seem cumbersome and time-consuming, but it is the key to building a successful brand. Irrespective of which product or service you are trying to promote, guesswork and intuition cannot replace hard facts. Knowing your consumer helps streamline your marketing efforts and maximise profitability.   

88% of consumers believe authenticity is essential when deciding which brands to support. 

Consumers were forced to change their consumption patterns due to the pandemic, and the government imposed lockdowns. They prioritised products and services that catered to basic needs and reduced the need to step outside the house. As a result, there was a sudden surge in traffic on platforms that provided online shopping and home delivery services. Sales plummeted for contact-intensive industries that relied heavily on foot traffic and faced significant losses.  

67% of consumers say their online shopping has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.  

For example, the COVID-19-led pandemic caused two significant shifts in consumer behaviour-  

A rise in consumer spending

About 51% of customers reported going out and treating themselves as retaliation for the outbreak.

A disruption in brand loyalty – In the past three months, out-of-stock items were an issue for more than 60% of US shoppers. Surprisingly, just a small fraction of customers waited for the item to restock. The majority of customers either changed brands and products or merchants.

It is essential to understand here that such situations can never be predicted. The best thing that can be done here is to continuously conduct consumer research instead of relying on age-old techniques. What may have worked for you in the past may not work in the present or future. Leaving your research mid-way or ignoring it can be fatal for your brand.  

Importance of Consumer Research

Consumer Research Methods 

Consumer research may look easy, but it involves many factors. The consumer mindset is continuously evolving. External variables like natural calamities, war, climate change, demographic changes and pandemics majorly contribute to the changes in consumption and behavioural patterns.  

43% of CMOs report that the major hurdle in the next 6-12 months is understanding customer behaviour in the short and long term. 

 So how do you predict which consumer research method will yield the best results? Let’s look at some ways you should consider in this post-pandemic era- 

Surveys 

Surveys are one of the most popular and commonly used research methods. It involves examining or questioning the target audience to obtain insights. It can be used for a product, service or process.  

It is easy, quick and comparatively cheaper than most research methods available. It also allows you much flexibility depending on the question format you choose.   

Related Read – The Ultimate Guide to Survey Question Types in 2022! 

While designing your survey, it is essential to remember that consumers may sometimes feel confused or may not put much thought into answering the questions asked.  

Competitive Analysis 

Consumers are spoilt for choice with the never-ending varieties of products and services available to them. The consumer base is small, but the competition for grabbing their attention is immense.  

Keeping an eye on your competitor’s market strategy will help you learn more about the market and the existing solutions available, making you distribute your resources optimally. 

Interviews and Focus Groups 

Interviews and focus group discussions involve having a direct conversation with the respondents. In interviews, you have a one-on-one conversation with your consumer. In a focus group discussion, you bring together a group of people based on a set of criteria.  

The main objective of both these research methods is to get deeper insights by asking the respondents open-ended questions. These drive meaningful conversations and help brands go beyond the surface. 

Behavioural Analytics 

Consumers always seek brands that make them feel heard and catered to. This requires brands to focus on understanding their consumers at a psychological level. Knowing about what the consumers genuinely feel helps brands provide a tailor-made experience to their consumers.  

Behavioural research mainly involves using technologies like facial coding and eye tracking. This helps understand the consumer at a subconscious level and fosters innovation. Once you know more about what connects well with your target audience, you can build better relationships with your consumers and convert them into brand loyalists! 

Entropik Tech’s behavioural research platform helps brands conduct quantitative and qualitative consumer research with features like facial coding, eye tracking & voice AI.  

Using Artificial Intelligence for consumer research helps you reduce your turnaround time and make better data-driven decisions.

Comparative Analysis

Comparative Analysis essentially entails comparing your product, idea, service, ad etc., with multiple variations of it, older versions of it or even a competitor’s version. This is commonly known as ‘A/B Testing’ and is a widely used research method.

I get it; being Dennis the Menace is fun. But, in business, we need to learn from our mistakes. You may have launched a fantastic campaign three years ago, but over time we all get a little rusty. Don’t let this hamper the success of your future campaigns. Make comparative analysis a habit and not just a practice.

Consumer Research Success Stories

Now that we know all about consumer research and how it can add value to your marketing strategy, let’s look at some examples where research played an important role-

UNILEVER

Dove Removes Normal

Unilever would no longer use the word “normal” on Dove’s packaging or in marketing copies, after a research study revealed that it makes it’s consumers feel excluded. These changes came after the brand conducted a 10,000-person study across 9 countries.

The results showed that 56% of respondents felt that the beauty industry could make people feel excluded, and 7 in 10 people agreed that the word “normal” on products and in advertising had negative effects.

In 2021, it had over 200 products with the ‘normal’ in it. In 2022, that count is ZERO. This resulted in 8200 pieces of coverage, 5.5 billion impressions and countless people who did not feel excluded.

LEGO GROUP

Lego friends

In a consumer research study, Lego discovered that only nine per cent of the toy users were female. Lego did not see this as a setback but as an opportunity. They wanted to expand their reach and increase revenue, but they also wanted to empower young girls.

They conducted lengthy and intensive consumer research with over 3500 young girls and their mothers to better understand what would appeal to their play habits. This is how their new product “Friends” was born.

They did not just stop at that; the bricks in this product line were more colourful and diverse to promote inclusivity.

Since the launch of Lego Friends in 2012, Lego has continuously increased its market share. Lego also told the Wall Street Journal that they saw a sharp rise in female Lego players.

CRICKET

Cricket T20

Given how hyped the game of cricket is, you’d be surprised to know that attendance had dropped by 17% between 1996 and 2001. Marketers had no idea why and their chain of thought was in parts like the wreckage of Titanic.

Back then, there were mainly two forms of cricket- 5-day test matches and 1-day matches. The problem was that fans started to increasingly get bored.

Stuart Robertson, a marketing executive, associated with the England and Wales Board, conducted a nationwide market research program. This cost approximately US $350k and initially consisted of 30 focus groups followed by thousands of surveys.

Even though he faced fierce resistance at first, decision-makers eventually voted in favour of tweaking the game, and T20 format was born, where overs of a match were reduced from 50 to 20.

Key Takeaway 

Consumer Research may seem highly tedious and a researcher’s work for marketers, but fostering innovation, delivering value, and building a better relationship with consumers is essential. Using the right consumer research method will help streamline your marketing efforts and provide accurate and actionable data. Instead of relying on your gut feeling, trusting data will save you time and money and help your brand grow. 

You can efficiently conduct consumer research using Entropik Tech’s quantitative and qualitative research platforms that are easy to use and not limited to researchers.You can conduct surveys on your own, conduct interviews and discussions with your customer groups and on top of that, use AI technologies like Facial Coding and Eye Tracking to understand the emotional and subconscious preferences of your consumers.

Unbiased Consumer Research at Scale

Author Bio

Tanvi Moitra

Tanvi can usually be found anxiously treading the office floor to get her content reviewed, here at Entropik. When not absorbed by researching and writing, she loves to read, go for a swim, play badminton, paint, and otherwise spend too much time bingeing on the Office and cuddling her German Shepherd, Whiskey. An absolute foodie, she would love to cook and bake for you and even give you the best dessert suggestions in the office.

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