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Customer Behavior Insights: An Attempt To Reconcile Traditional Marketing And Insight Research

08 Jun 2017

We, the tech entrepreneurs, are living in the world of research and data, always boasting about the importance of consumer insights and behavior analysis. There is so much buzz about it that even we fail to draw the distinctive line between traditional market research and consumer insight research, let alone other companies, which are still not into all these consumer and market insights types of things.

Indeed, differences between consumer insights and market research insights become more and more blurred. Customer insight solutions and consumer insight tools are occupying those domains of marketing research that only 5 years ago where centered around traditional research methods.

Nonetheless, there are some significant differences between «old but gold» market research and customer insight analytics. Let’s see what they are.

What is the difference between market research and consumer insights?

The main difference is that market research focuses on quantitative data, while insight research is more about qualitative data. Market research is always aimed at answering such questions as: «What?», «How much?» – «what is the size of the market?», «how much customers are ready to pay for this product?», etc. Customer insight research cares about «Why?» and «How?» questions – «Why customers don’t click on our contextual advertising?», «How do customers make their purchase decisions?».

These two types of research go hand in hand, but consumer insights always give you a deeper and better perspective of the researched subject as they help better understand the decision-making process. When you know what is going on inside customers’ mind you have far better chances to boost those sales figures which you received from the market research. If put simply, consumer insights research looks into reasons behind different types of customers’ behavior while the market research embodies the consequences of this behavior in figures.

How to understand whether you are doing market research or customer insight research?

If you are playing mainly with statistical data and figures then you do market research. In case you fishing for more conceptual things such as customer insights which give you an idea of why consumers make this or that decision then you can proudly name yourself a customer insight analyst, and your team – a customer insight company. Seriously though, customer insights is the way to give a human face to countless piles of marketing statistics.

How to switch from market research to insight research

It’s all about research tools and methods. Customer insight marketing envisages the application of the customer insight software, customer insight platforms, audience insight tools, and other methods which help to understand what customers really think and what is hidden behind their reluctance to express their true opinion and intentions openly. Without researching consumer insights your business is more likely to fail as you won’t get reliable data if you don’t understand how you customers take decisions. That’s why it’s very important to supply your marketing department with consumer insights to make your marketing strategy more sustainable and help them better meet clients’ expectations.

The above attempt to separate market research and consumer insight research may seem to be artificial as there is such thing as insight market research for instance, which encompasses both – traditional market research methods and customer insight tools, such as neuromarketing for example. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the aforementioned differences as such understanding helps you prioritize your research efforts and financial resources depending on the needs of your business. Of course, consumer insights based research is an uneven, riskier path compared to the more beaten road of traditional market research, but far more rewarding at the same time. Thus, if you are planning to get your marketing right don’t hesitate to dive deep into consumer behavior and analytics!

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the aforementioned differences as such understanding helps you prioritize your research efforts and financial resources depending on the needs of your business. 

Of course, consumer insights based research is an uneven, riskier path compared to the more beaten road of traditional market research, but far more rewarding at the same time. Thus, if you are planning to get your marketing right don’t hesitate to dive deep into consumer behavior and analytics!

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