8 Customer Insights That Drive Growth

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Consumer insights information answers many questions for marketing, but none are more important than to identify the right growth opportunities, and to deliver a deep understanding of what matters most to your target consumers. Only 20% of marketers say they truly know their consumers. And, 81% of marketing decision makers are concerned about reaching the right consumer.

Knowing your target audience and the benefit that audience truly desires from your company is the best weapon—perhaps the only weapon—capable of creating competitive advantage.

What consumer insights information do you need to make sure that you have identified the right target market—the one that will allow you reach and exceed your growth goals? Typical consumer characteristics that should be used—

  1. Demographics: Demographic information is the first-level description for identifying and choosing the target audience. What do these demographics say about consumers’ ability and likelihood to purchase your products?
  2. Category and Adjacent Category Behavior: How do consumers use your category? Are they heavy or light? Recent adopters or people who have been using the product/service for a long time? What is their behavior in categories adjacent to your category? What does their behavior say about why they use these products or services the way they do?
  3. Consumer Segmentation: What consumer segments provide the best opportunity for your organization to meet its goals? Since all segments are not created equal, consumer insights must build an understanding of which segments are the best choice.
  4. Media and Social Media: Understanding what media your target consumers use is critical in understanding how to communicate with them, and even more important for engaging and interacting with them.
  5. Satisfaction and Loyalty: How deep is your relationship with consumers? Is their purchasing behavior more opportunistic and influenced by what your competitors are offering? And most importantly, how can you make them more loyal?
  6. Habits: How do they use your product and how does your product align with their typical behavior patterns? The key question here is assessing how entrenched specific behaviors are for your consumers. The more entrenched, the more difficult the change to adopt a new product or service, and the more support they will need from you in marketing communications.
  7. Values and Beliefs: All consumers have deep-seated values and beliefs about their lives and how they play their varied roles (e.g. parent, spouse, employee, etc.). What do you need to know that consumers may not readily be able to tell you and have your research methods dug deep enough to get at this? When consumers buy cars, they are not just buying transportation; they are buying statements about themselves, and what’s important to them. Understanding the values of your consumers—and how your product/service fits with those values—is critical to business success.
  8. Personality: Consumers’ personalities are made up of the qualities and characteristics that make us unique and set us apart from others. Consumers choose products and services that reflect their personalities, or the personalities they aspire to have. By choosing brands similar to their own personalities, they tell the world who they are—or whom they want to be.

The characteristics of habits, values and beliefs, and personality aren’t always uncovered with traditional research, but are essential for a complete consumer understanding.

Marketers and consumer insights professionals are uniquely capable of bringing this information together to create innovative and effective strategies and plans. The important thing is to challenge your understanding of the consumer, continually bringing additional depth and clarity to your insights.

Chris Holt is a Senior Marketing Consultant at Insights in Marketing, a Chicago-area marketing research consultancy. Chris has over 25 years’ experience in global qualitative research and shopper insights. You can download Insights in Marketing’s free strategic planning eBook, “Capturing Competitive ADVANTAGE: Using Insights to Tame the Strategic Planning Beast,” here.



  1. Hi. Thank you for sharing. As a markt researcher, each of these are pieces of information we collect using different techniques and ideologies. However a key issue is that these pieces of information do not talk to each other well. Sometimes they appear to contradict and it seems that we are not even looking at the same customer. Hence we tend to specialize in one or the other to preserve our sanity. What is your recco on the ability to integrate these pieces together to present one consolified view ?

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