March 29, 2017

Getting What You Need from Customer Insights

by Carrie Scheetz

It seems like today, discovering what your customers want is easier than ever. After all, marketers have countless tools at their fingertips today to help them identify what, where, why and how their customers want a product or service.

There’s social media, with real-time customer feedback. There’s the analytics we can build into our websites to track customer behavior. There’s marketing automation software and the data it generates about our email campaigns. We can easily deploy online surveys to get a better sense of consumer wants and needs. There’s of course direct contact with customers and our relationships with them.

Data overload
There’s … a lot. In fact, if it feels like there’s too many ways we’re tracking what we think is valuable information about our customers, it’s because there might be. Or at least that’s the case if we’re not using the tools at our disposal effectively.  

So, yes, there are more ways than ever to capture customer data. But what’s critical to remember is that data isn’t an answer in itself.  As CMSWire notes, it’s easy for the modern marketer to get overwhelmed by the data “firehose.”
Insightful action
Which leads us to consider: just what is a customer insight, anyway? What data should we be paying attention to? A customer insight, more than anything, is a hypothesis. It’s a way we interpret customer behavior, and what sort of action we believe may or may not come of that behavior. And we can influence that.

One effective way to zero in on that hypothesis is with customer personas—fictionalized versions of your real customers based on research. You can use these to segment your audiences in different ways, and you can use that segmentation to weigh the value of their actions.

For instance, if a persona you’ve identified as having real, immediate purchasing power has responded positively to an email campaign—downloaded an asset, filled out a form, or some other kind of meaningful digital action—then he or she is worth paying attention to. Perhaps worthy of a follow-up with someone from your team.

And that’s the key—customer insights and the data that drive them should lead to action, or else the effort you’ve made to that point goes to waste. What that action is, depends on the circumstance, and your knowledge of your customers, but with the right approach, you can make it something meaningful.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at

For more information about Quanex visit
Posted: March 29, 2017 by Carrie Scheetz Filed under: customer, data, insights