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How To Use Consumer Insights For Product Inspiration and Development

To produce a product that people want to buy can clearly be a difficult feat or we’d all be bajillionaires (unless you’re this guy). What’s trickier is understanding the actual consumer demand (or what will be next in demand). Here, I’ve compiled an initial list of some traditional and less-than-traditional consumer interest indicators for your consideration.

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Surveys

The tried and true marketing and product development standard is doing consumer insight surveys. The primary benefits are being able to focus on specific information and target questions to specific audiences. It can be incredibly time efficient, however, this approach can be costly when you hire specialists to create and execute surveys. Also, over the years, the accuracy of these types of surveys has been questioned.

Forecasting/Predictions through search data

Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, or 5.5 billion searches per day. This has direct implications for market forecasting and predictions since search queries are a microscope of what is in the general population’s hearts and minds. That said, could the next pumpkin spice latte be warm turmeric cinnamon milk? Based on Google’s “2016 Food Trends on Google: The Rise of Functional Foods,” searches for turmeric has grown over 300% in the last 5 years. Google has analyzed its ludicrously expansive data set of search queries and were able to look at increases in search queries, determine the potential relation, and confidently theorize on what the overarching trend is: foods that generate a greater health benefit than sustenance. If you spend any time on Pinterest, this theory is no surprise.

Consumer care and feedback

It may be hard to believe, but there’s a great deal of customer service involved when it comes to brand community management. Part of that is because social media is the preferred customer care channel before website/live chat, email, and even the 1-800 customer service line [see chart below]. A way to use that customer feedback as consumer insight is treating it as a continuation of market testing a product. It’s a focus group with the ultimate product road test. People using products and services can give incredible insight into how the products and services are being used in everyday life. For instance, if 467 of 500 customer comments make a note that they adore the sneakers they purchased, but wish those sneakers came in magenta, that may be an opportunity to reach the magenta-loving market.

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Social Media Engagement

Sometimes, consumers don’t even need say a word to indicate interest in potential new products. Last year, our client Quill.com posted an “Office Hack” to mark how much water you should be drinking throughout different parts of the day. Well, the post performed so well, Quill actually made the product here (and it gets amazing reviews). 

Side note: The product announcement post was one of the highest performing traffic-driving posts of the year.

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Target audience research tools

As marketers and advertisers, we have been using research tools to get a better understanding of our audiences since the 1930’s. These tools may be better suited during the product conception process than production, but some interesting findings could be unearthed through digging. As long as you avoid the easy pitfalls of equating correlation with causation, it can be inspiring.

Hopefully these tips help you learn more about your consumers and inspire the next big thing. If you’re interested in more ways to get inside the minds of your consumers and maybe leverage some of our knowledge and tools, please don’t hesitate to give us a holler.

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