Weighing Customer Insights vs Market Research to Optimize Marketing Results

Weighing Customer Insights vs. Market Research to Optimize Marketing Results

Weighing Customer Insights vs Market Research to Optimize Marketing ResultsCompanies use both market research and customer insights to inform their business decisions and improve their bottom lines. Though similar, they contribute different values to businesses seeking to optimize marketing results. Let’s take a look at the benefits of customer insights versus market research.

Customer Insights vs. Market Research 

Market research is abundant and plentiful. Its tools are well-developed and yield reliable results. Customer insights, on the other hand, are much less available and harder to obtain. While they are similar in terms of aim and methods, their scope and results differ. The table provides an overview of customer insights versus market research including a sample of what their resulting data points look like. 

Market Research Customer Insights
Scope Focused on general markets Focused on a brand’s customer base
  • Surveys
  • Industry studies
  • Polls
  • Statistics
  • Customer surveys (online, pop-up, etc.)
  • Interviews
  • Customer journey map
  • Customer data collection and unification
  • Website traffic analysis
  • Assess market equilibrium
  • Determine market trends
  • Find new market opportunities
  • Identify target and addressable market sizes
  • Establish market players
  • Analyze customer behavior including purchase habits, engagement, and attitude
  • Assess product acceptance and response to offers/promotions
  • Perceive consumer needs and wants
  • Identify customer pain points
  • Improve customer journey
Sample Data Points
  • Current market size of convenience stores is estimated at $1 billion
  • The market’s largest consumer segment consists of health-conscious, working professionals between the ages of 25 and 35
  • 55% of retailers are investing in experiential shopping both in-store and online to attract new customers
  • Online store checkout process is cumbersome and discourages first-time purchasers
  • Customers are receptive to loyalty programs and rewards but not to bulk purchase incentives
  • Existing customers expect a personalized shopping experience online but not in-store

As outlined above, market research deals with the broader landscape of an industry or major markets. Its results deal with industry-level trends that affect companies on a large scale but not on the level of an individual business entity. 

While market research delivers an overview of relevant market facts and statistics, customer insights add another level of perception that hones a brand’s strategy in driving customer purchase behavior and loyalty. Customer insights analyze data regarding customer behavior and leverage that data to build action plans. Consider the case of Japanese retailer PARCO which focused on customer insights more than market research to inform its marketing strategy.

PARCO Case Study

PARCO is a 69-year-old shopping mall and department store chain in Japan with over 3,000 retailers. The company’s leadership knew they had to act to avoid collapse with the advent of online shopping. To accomplish this, PARCO employed an omnichannel strategy to drive in-store purchases.

Its main strategy was to launch a mobile app that acted as a digital touchpoint and collected customer data. The company then leveraged this data to provide more personalized shopping experiences at its onsite locations. 

The company also partnered with a customer data platform provider which integrated with multiple touchpoints and transformed customer data into visualizations of customer behavior. The customer data platform was able to recommend the next best action based on its analysis and drive real-time customer experiences. One example is the use of geofences and geolocation to encourage in-store shoppers via the mobile app to explore a nearby aisle with an ongoing sale. As a result of its consumer data-driven strategy, PARCO enjoyed positive marketing results in its brick-and-mortar stores at a time when other retailers were facing the “retail apocalypse.” 

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Real-Time Data Optimizes Marketing Results 

Customer insights can be used to an even greater advantage with real-time data collection and analysis. Real-time data is structured and unstructured data served instantly on demand, usually by a customer data platform.

A customer data platform (CDP) takes unified customer data from multiple channel touchpoints, analyzes it, and converts it into actionable insights within seconds. When used with a customer data platform, this unified data provides a rich understanding of customers that can be used to optimize marketing results. Here are other ways real-time data helps businesses:

Unified Customer Data is Essential for Omnichannel Experiences

Customers today expect to be able to move between physical and digital channels seamlessly. A shopper may begin her journey on a mobile app, continue browsing on a brand’s website and complete the purchase at a nearby retail store. Unified customer data enables a smooth omnichannel experience that meets customer needs at every touchpoint and drives conversion with relevant actionable insights. 

Unified Customer Data is Necessary for Personalization

Unified customer profiles developed using a customer data platform enables a high degree of personalization of marketing and engagement. For example, a customer seeking to upgrade their packaged vegan meal options may browse a brand’s blogs for ideas. Based on the customer’s purchase history and engagement with previous blogs, the CPG company website can recommend suitable options right away instead of storing customer interaction for later use. 

Unified Customer Data Improves Customer Service

Humans provide the best one-to-one interaction with customers. Armed with unified data, a customer service representative is able to provide tailored assistance to clients. Personalized customer service, in turn, increases loyalty and customer lifetime value. 

In a nutshell, market research determines the “WHAT” of the broader market and industry while customer insights answer the “WHY” of specific brands and their customers. While market research is useful in guiding business direction in the long term, customer insights are more useful in understanding a company’s current target audience. Harnessing unified customer data and insights is also more effective in optimizing marketing strategies and results. 

Create Personalized Customer Experiences with Real-Time Data

Treasure Data allows you to create personalized customer experiences with real-time, unified data from its proprietary customer data platform (CDP). We help brands identify who is ready to buy as well as when and how to interact with them to convert.

To learn how to leverage data to improve your customer experience, consult an expert today. Want to learn more? Request a demo, call 1.866.899.5386, or contact us for more information.

Kellie de Leon
Kellie de Leon
Kellie de Leon is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Treasure Data. She is a marketer, writer, and speaker who is passionate about delivering relevant and valuable experiences for customers throughout the buyer’s journey to drive business growth. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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