Consumer Market Insights (CMI) professionals are modern-day detectives.
Instead of looking for evidence about bank robberies or jewelry heists, the CMI team hunts for clues to help them answer some of the most important strategic and tactical questions that a company may have about their customers and the market.
Questions such as:
- Which claims should we be making to maximize the appeal of our product?
- What is the right pricing and promotion strategy for my brand in this category
- Which companies should we consider for M&A?
- Which are the channels that are driving growth in my category?
- Which flavor should I launch next for my brand to maximize growth?
The answers to these questions are vital in helping companies make decisions throughout the product lifecycle and across the marketing mix. It costs $115M on average to develop and launch a new consumer product, and the cost is rising. Even more daunting, 96% of all consumer products fail to return their cost of capital.
With so much on the line with each launch, companies must do everything they can to get it right the first time. The good news is that brands can mitigate these risks by leaning on data to guide their product decisions.
But it’s more than data—it’s insight. Data is a raw resource like a mountain of mud ready to be panned by a prospector. Insights are the gold flakes which are actually the precious commodity.
So, how does a CMI professional know when they’ve uncovered a truly transformative insight?
Not all insights are equally valuable. Some might even be worthless.
How can you tell?
The three ingredients of a transformative insight
Ultimately, no one can truly know the value of an insight until it’s put into market and the books are closed. If the launch succeeded, it was probably a solid insight—if not, the insight might not have been as valuable. However, there are some common ingredients that can help the CMI know if they have found an insight worth bringing to the table.
The most valuable insights are:
- Backed by data
- Clearly actionable
- Explains the why, not just the what
Transformative insights are backed by data
Being data-driven is today’s expectation in business. Everyone—from the CEO to the folks on the front line—must base all decisions on data. But “data-driven” is a fairly wide notion. A company leader may see one sales report, make an important decision, and feel certain that it was a data-driven conclusion.
The CMI team is held to a different data standard. The data they use must have breadth and depth from a variety of sources—virtually as many strong signals as they can take on based on their time/money/expertise resources. In the last decade, new innovations in the field of intelligent machines have greatly widened the scope of the data CMI teams can access.
Emerging advanced analytics platforms like Skai are designed to reach deep, connecting thousands of external data sources such as social media posts, product listings, product reviews, patent filings, key opinion leaders’ posts, research papers, business news, conference programs, clinical trial results, point-of-sale data, demographic data, blogs, forums, and other sources.
And just having the most data isn’t enough. Accuracy is a key consideration too. Data that is unconnected, unstructured, and composed of large and extremely varied combinations result in more variables and relationships to analyze, explore, and test.
At the core of Signal-Analytics solution are patented natural language processing (NLP) techniques and advanced taxonomies to accurately reveal hidden consumer sentiments, pricing trends, hype cycles, advancements in research, and more.
Transformative insights are clearly actionable
By its very name, a transformative insight must have the ability to transform. Anything less can absolutely still be worthwhile to surface, but an insight that can inspire successful business decisions which wouldn’t have been possible without it is truly transformative.
While the output from the CMI team is generally intelligence which is passed on to other teams to make decisions, sometimes an insight is just so profound that the decision is clear. It has been said a valuable insight is one that once it’s said, it is completely obvious.
The traditional role of consumer and market insights (CMI) is like an internal business strategy consultant, whose focus is on the customer, where their mindset is and where they are going. Beyond analytics, those who do CMI well, will be able to convey and translate market intelligence into actionable recommendations across an enterprise. CMI is on the front lines, understanding why consumers make their buying decisions, diving deep into big data to spot patterns that can translate into business strategies.
Actionable and transformative insights help to steer the investments which impact the future of the business in a variety of ways including:
- Guiding products and messaging strategies by identifying emerging trends
- Directing strategic and campaign decisions using consumer data and product claims to fill unmet customer needs
- Steering marketing and media buying choices via consumer sentiment and brand performance
The why, not just the what
While good insights answers the “What” questions that companies have, the transformative ones also usually are able to explain the “Why” behind the data.
Qualitative research gets to the why. It unearths opinions, thoughts and feelings of consumers and leads to the aha moments in the decision-making process that informs new concepts, products and marketing strategies. Understanding the Why creates better alignment with the consumer to better meet their needs, enhance their experience and foster brand loyalty.
Gaining that understanding from online sources has been a challenge for business executives. The online world is vast, never-ending, unstructured, constantly changing, sarcastic, full of hyperbole, emotion and emojis, and disconnected. It takes unique capabilities to break through the clutter. This is the future.
Insights that deliver the Why are more transformative than ones that don’t because they enable companies to better understand the world around them. These insights drive companies to think differently and head into directions that they didn’t know even existed.
Skai is an advanced analytics platform built to empower business decision makers with real-time, actionable data insights. Our founders, two Israeli military intelligence officers, realized they could apply the same processes they used on the battlefield to make better decisions in the boardroom. We’re unique in our ability to connect more than 13,000 external data sources using proprietary NLP and machine learning techniques. Our clients include many of the world’s leading consumer brands.
*This blog post originally appeared on Signals-Analytics.com. Kenshoo acquired Signals-Analytics in December 2020. Read the press release.