Consumers have always talked about the products and services they consume. Whereas they used to do so over a cup of coffee or around a water cooler at work, now they do so online – largely on social media. This is actually a tremendous resource for CPG brands because, as Yogi Berra put it, “You can observe a lot by watching.”
According to a McKinsey cross-industry survey in 2015, the three most important factors that correlate with success in product launches are team collaboration, incorporating marketing insights, and planning launches well. Those are listed in order too, so incorporating marketing insights into launches correlates more strongly with launch success than even planning the launch carefully. Here are some ways you can identify and understand consumer insights to make your next product launch a roaring success.
Online Tools That Help You Identify Actionable Consumer Insights
Google Trends, Social Mention, and Facebook Audience Insights are just three of the many tools you can start using right now to get your arms around the newest consumer insights. Google Trends lets you plug in keywords and see how interest in them has changed over time. You could, for example, input a term related to your new CPG product (say, “quinoa”) and see how search trends have changed over time. You can also see exactly where in the world your search term is most popular as well as related queries, including which ones are rising in interest most sharply.
Social Mention is a free tool that organizes social media mentions of a brand into a single stream and tells you top keywords, top sites, and top hashtags. Since it gathers data across over 100 social networks, you get to cast a wide net.
Facebook Audience Insights is not the same as Facebook Page Insights. Audience Insights reports customer demographics according to age, sex, relationship status, job role, and lifestyle. It also clues you in on the number of likes for posts, individual Facebook usage, and purchase activity.
Surveys and Audience Profiling to Gather Consumer Insights
Consumer surveys and audience profiling are classic methods for gathering consumer insights, and they are still incredibly useful. Using consumer surveys lets you gather large quantities of data relevant to your product and allows you to create an accurate picture of your target consumer audience, including their online behaviors, brand preferences, and even self-perceptions.
Audience profiling is a way of drilling down and learning about your target audience with depth. Brands often use audience profiling to create customer personas that are realistic and then use the data gathered to identify ways to interact with customers from the beginning of their path to purchase up through and even after the purchase.
Do Not Forget Observation of and Interaction with Consumers
Observing consumers and interacting with them (largely on social media) is simple, but not easy, because it requires persistence and consistency. However, it can offer insights you would not get from other methods of gauging consumer interests. If you have a team in charge of social media, they should over time be able to tell you what key consumer concerns are, what questions consumers ask most, and what types of comments are used most.
Observational data combined with analytical data can reveal consumer insights that analytics alone cannot deliver, so it is important that the lead-up to any product launch include regular monitoring of social media and interaction with consumers on social media.
Lack of consumer data is no longer a problem for brands. The issue is finding high-quality information that is relevant to your brand and your product, so you can gain insights that will help you develop a product launch that succeeds. Second only to excellent team collaboration in effectiveness, consumer insights are a necessary ingredient in creating a product launch that will perform as you want it to and have the highest likelihood of translating into loyalty and lasting brand affinity.
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