“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
– Sam Walton, founder of Walmart.
This is something the founder of retail giant Walmart already grasped in the early 90s, when his company spent over 500 million dollars to study consumer behavior when shopping at Walmart.
The anecdote highlights the importance–past and present–of knowing your customer, regardless of whether it is the end consumer or another company.
And this need has only grown in the digital era. On one hand, thanks to the internet, buying is easier than ever, giving rise to hyper-competition in the markets. We have never had access to so many products, nor has it ever been easier to find them.
And, on the other hand, technology also enables the creation of new channels and experiences, such as brand communities, where we can get to know consumers better, and create loyalty by satisfying their needs.
How to obtain valuable consumer insights
One of the great advantages of capturing consumer insights in digital media is being able to do so on a large scale, in a short period of time, and at a low cost.
How to capture consumer insights.
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Learn about the person behind the buyer, and his or her needs. To do so, coordinate and follow three basic steps:
1. Use an appropriate channel…
… that allows you to capture and interpret the consumer’s voice. The use of communities where brands and consumers come together, within a framework of shared needs (the product I want to sell / the product I want to buy), is one of the most effective and distinctive ways for today’s brands to learn about trends in their markets, as a means to develop their innovation initiatives internally and use them to acquire competitive advantages.
The use of a brand’s own vertical channels, related to its areas of activity and interest, allows brands to more easily attract an interested audience (i.e. their potential consumers), but also to create loyalty among existing consumers, because brand and consumers share a common area of interest.
2. Articulate a constructive listening process…
….which, apart from capturing the consumer’s voice, ensures consumer information that is relevant for the brand, or that might bring together brand and consumer in the process of building collectively through co-creation.
Today, brands can launch a community to host this co-creative process, enabling interaction with consumers. In said communities, the brand can ask about issues of interest to a large base of users related to their product and market, and those users can contribute solutions regarding challenges proposed by the brand.
The community also works as a test bench for the launch of new products. Users comment, vote for, or build on ideas, and those consumer insights reduce risks by verifying the viability of potential new market launches.
3. Work in a scalable and collective way…
….representing a broad group of verified consumers, or a predetermined target group.
Another important benefit of co-creation communities is the obvious fact that they “build a sense of community” around a brand. A broad base of users becomes consolidated around the brand and paves the path for them to become true brand ambassadors.
Co-creation also allows brands to grasp their demands and to ask questions regarding issues of interest to consumers. As the community grows, the brand will do so too, as well as consumer loyalty, because the brand will be perceived by consumers as one that listens and pays attention to their needs.
Download the ebook: “How to co-create and obtain valuable consumer insights.”