Thanks to John Dee Fair, former VP of customer insights at Sephora, Wells Fargo, Williams Sonoma and IRI for a great webinar on “Building Better Decisions with Customer Insights.”
I’ve been a big proponent of gathering consumer insights directly from consumers since my early days in advertising in 1981. I learned early in my career the importance of hearing things directly from the consumer and then being able to ask follow-up questions to delve more deeply into what the consumer has said to find their emotional connection to the product or brand.
John suggests a three-step process for effective and targeted marketing:
- “Building” focuses on a process for grounding you plan in customer metrics and realism. I agree that every marketing campaign seeks to drive incremental sales and you must do that in one of three ways: 1) increase the number of customers; 2) increase order size; or, 3) increase the frequency with which they shop and buy.
- “Better” focuses on execution and targeting. This is a function of having the right customer data and knowing what causes a customer to buy. John rightly cautions us to be careful offering promotions or rewards to one segments of customers or prospects that might offend another. How many times have you seen an offer for “new customers only” that is a better deal than you signed up for?
- “Decisions” applies insights to drive incremental sales, improved margins and increased loyalty. In order to do so, focus on sales, margins and customer satisfaction; align with how customers shop for your product; evaluate price promotions based on incremental sales above the usual run rate, not the total sales during a promotion.
While John focused on customer insights from quantitative data and analytics during his presentation, he did verify the value and validity of qualitative insights as well.
I have used both quantitative and qualitative data to garner consumer insights over the course of my career; however, finding the emotional link between the customer and the brand has always come from having a dialogue with the consumer or listening to what they had to say during group discussions or focus groups.
What are your keys for leveraging customer insights?