By Karina Margit Erdelyi

Change is the Only Constant: Why Consumer Insights Research Matters More Than Ever

Change is the Only Constant:

Why Consumer Insights Research Matters More Than Ever

The spring of 2020 brought vital lessons on just how quickly things can change. As our world has rapidly transformed — so have the need states of consumers. Meaningful consumer data intelligence matters in this time of r/evolution, perhaps now more than ever. Brands that have a good bead on what their customer wants today will position themselves for success — the ones that do not may be left dancing in the dust.

It’s not Darwin’s evolution any longer.

COVID-19 upended not just our economy, but how and where we work — and will likely do so for some time to come. And now, between the punch of the pandemic and the sweeping impact of nationwide and global protests, it is more important than ever for brands to harness consumer and data insights to ensure that they are in proper alignment for the new normal today and the next normal to follow.

Few marketing challenges are tougher than identifying and influencing what drives consumer attitudes and behaviors. There is a huge opportunity to inspire consumers through stellar communication and authentic, meaningful action. The best way to guide the next steps forward, however, relies on a deep understanding of your customer. What they want, today — what matters to them, today. 

Diversity will be critical as market research insights and analytics evolves in this epoch of COVID-19 and social justice protests

It will be incumbent on research insights firms and analytics centers of excellence to have the right teams in place. To truly understand the changing need states of customers, it is imperative that businesses ask the right questions to understand the ‘why’ behind consumer behavior, and uncover the ‘so what’ to deliver meaningful results. And a big part of getting this right might be curating a team that mirrors the true diversity of the marketplace. One criticism being levied is that many employers in this space have a sea of sameness as it relates to the composition of their teams, which might inhibit their ability to more acutely understand the market and uncover useful insights.

Consumer behavior today reflects the widespread effects of the global pandemic and current protests for social justice. These behavioral changes are playing out across all areas of consumer’s lives: from what they do inside and outside the home to how they approach social media, and subsequently — consumerism. Socially responsible spending could become more widespread as consumers move to support companies seen as “responsible” in the current crisis. Be it acting to protect furloughed employees or making statements about social justice backed up by tangible actions like support for anti-bias training, donations to charities, and shifts in business practice that support greater inclusivity. At a time when many Americans are suffering from a decline in income, they are thinking more critically about where they spend their money.

People are paying attention and cancel culture is ruthless — alignment matters now, perhaps more than ever.

Corporate silence can be deafening and perhaps costly for brands that do not speak up authentically. While there may be a risk of alienating some existing customers, the rewards for supporting the right cause could be high. Many posts are shared and discussed far more widely than those about actual products or services — doing the right thing speaks volumes in today’s world. According to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult, most people want companies to partake in meaningful community action, like committing resources to help recover from unrest, or to make their own workplaces more equal.

In today’s fast-evolving market landscape, a business’s ability to drive significant market growth will center on the depth of its consumer insights — and how well it translates those insights into action. Business leaders recognize that things have changed and quickly — it is more critical than ever to take a close look at who your customer is, what your customer wants, and how you can best deliver. Companies that have the right teams, and ask the right questions, will thrive.