Data alone does not generate intelligence. For data to promote better decision making and the development of more effective customer strategies, it is necessary to transform it into insights. We explain what a customer insight is and the standards that define it.
At a time when customer's behaviour and opinions carry more weight than ever before, companies need to go a step further than just collecting consumer data. While it is true that customer data is the basis on which we work to understand our customers and develop strategies that are tailored to their needs, data is only the raw material.
Contrary to what it may seem, data is not information. Data are raw words, numbers or images that constitute facts. For these facts to become information, we must process the data,, contextualise it, build a story out of it and put it into a format that promotes its understanding.
Imagine that one day you arrive at your workplace and a piece of paper on your deskthat says: 123.721/5.3M/571.300. Although you know that there is data on the paper, you are not able to understand it. However, if you look at the table below, you will probably be able to get the message. Data has been transformed into information:
All we have done to transform the data into information is to put it into context.
However, looking at the table above, you may have thought that it is missing at least one column, and you are right. The table gives us information about something related to our business activity, but it does not raise any conclusions or provide us with more intelligence than what we already see.
Why? Because information is not an insight.
What is a customer insight?
So far we have seen how to transform data into information, but how do we transform information into insights?
Insights are information that has been interpreted and analysed to promote conclusions, better decisions and the implementation of actions and strategies for improvement. Insights are, therefore, the result of data analysis and adding value to the information we have.
Therefore, an insight is that kind of knowledge that provides value and allows companies to either know what is going on, to improve something or to solve a problem.
Thus, following the above definition, a customer insight is knowledge about the customer that brings us value and allows companies to either know what customers are doing or how they behave, to improve customer strategies or to solve a problem related to clients.
In order to make real use of the customer data we have, we should not make the mistake of thinking that any kind of information we have about customers is customer insight.
A customer insight is information that customers do not tell us directly through data. The most valuable customer insights are those that provide us with information of an emotional nature related to the feelings and emotions of our consumers, although we should not underestimate rational insights.
In order for the data or information we have about customers to become a customer insight, it must meet several requirements:
- Being the solution to a customer pain point. In other words, it must help us solve one of our customer's pains.
- An actionable revelation. Customer insights are usually associated with revelations that companies integrate into their value proposition and that benefit both the company and the customer. However, they are not static revelations, but revelations that mobilise the consumer to taking an action.
- Promoting purchase intention. In digital marketing it is very common for companies to analyse information that helps them building growth strategies based on attention. That is, the growth of followers on social networks, an increase in the number of visits to our website, etc. However, a marketing insight is not always a customer insight. When it comes to clients, insights should not only generate attention, but they should also encourage the implementation of strategies that increase the purchase intention of our potential customers.
- Encourage optimisation and improvements. As we have already mentioned, a customer insight should help us to improve something related to the customer, whether it is the customer experience, a service or any other type of strategy linked to customer intelligence. In other words, a customer insight must be actionable.
- Medium to long term. Customer insights generate intelligence that provides value and allows us to optimise some of our customer-related processes in the medium or long term.
In short, a customer insight is that type of information that allows us to align customer needs with our company's objectives and transform them into better actions.
How to transform data into customer insights?
Generally speaking, the most effective ways to transform data and information into insights are data analysis, data visualisation and reporting.
When it comes to customer insights, however, it is likely that we must carry out more specific customer-centric actions such as customer segmentation, measuring the customer experience, mapping the customer journey or conducting a market research. Undoubtedly, one of the most effective techniques to get customer insights is the Buyer Persona method.
On the other hand, the market is full of technologies that can help us generate customer insights. One of the most cutting-edge at the moment is the Customer Data Platform (CDP), a comprehensive customer relationship management tool with a customer-centric perspective which, until now, is the only technology capable of covering all the processes related to customer data management and solving the customer information needs of multiple departments in a company.
If you want to explore in more depth what a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is and how it can help you optimise your customer strategies, you can download our free e-book: 'Customer Data Platform: A Step Closer to Customer-Centricity'.