Market research and your target consumers’ ideas and feelings about your company can teach you a lot. 

But what distinguishes market research from consumer insights? 

More importantly, how can each of these information sources assist you in developing a stronger brand?

Why Do You Need Both Market Research and Consumer Insights? -

Companies frequently interchange the terms “market research” and “consumer insights.” Both are excellent sources of knowledge that might help you make better business judgments: many times, the two overlap in terms of how they might benefit your brand.

The truth remains, though, that each performs a specific role. Knowing when to rely on market research and when to rely on consumer insights can help you know whether to rely on both and how to get the most out of both.

A Definition of Consumer Insights

If you’ve ever issued a survey to your consumers, solicited an online review, or organized a focus group, you’ve witnessed consumer insights in action. Consumer insights, by definition, are people’s thoughts, views, and experiences that are evaluated by businesses to acquire a better knowledge of how their customers think and feel.

These insights manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including:

  • Online evaluations
  • Customer polls
  • Comments on social media
  • Discussions in the forums
  • Panels or focus groups
  • Consumer research studies

Any means via which consumers can provide feedback to a firm or brand qualifies as a component of the consumer insight process. Companies can gather consumer insights formally (through a structured, solicited feedback process) or informally (such as by scanning your social media profiles for user comments).

Why Do You Need Both Market Research and Consumer Insights? -

The overall goal remains the same: to gain access to consumers’ thinking and use data to draw clear and actionable judgments about what to do next.

What Exactly Is Market Research?

Consumer insights are what market research is to individual customers, whereas consumer insights are to an entire industry, area, or population. Market research is defined as the practice of gathering market-related information, typically through direct and explicit questioning. This information could include, but is not limited to:

  • The size of a market that can be addressed
  • permeation of the market.
  • There is a high demand for a specific industry, product, or service in a certain region.
  • Demographic information such as age, income level, and education level
  • Brand’s adversaries

Market requirements or gaps?

Data from broad market research provides a high-level understanding of a consumer demographic. Brands use this data for a variety of objectives, including determining which markets to enter and which goods to create next.

Why Do You Need Both Market Research and Consumer Insights? -

The market research sector as a whole is currently valued at $73.4 billion. Dedicated market research firms often perform research and studies on behalf of businesses. Other information sources, such as news channels can provide insights into a specific market.

The Meeting Place of Market Research and Consumer Insights

Market research and consumer insights both rely on reliable and useful data to make informed decisions and determine how to allocate resources effectively. Both seek to gain access to consumers’ minds in order to understand their behaviors and the reasons for such behaviors. And both may help you make sense of your company’s existing market position and determine what you need to do next to maintain or scale that position.

Though market research and consumer insights serve distinct functions, they do not usually exist in silos. In reality, market research initiatives are frequently supplemented with consumer insights to help contextualize market data.

Market Research Casting a Wide Net

Assume you are releasing a new range of cookware and tools. You are already aware that the business is highly competitive, so you decide to conduct market research and choose the best locations to launch your brand.

At this point, your market research may entail measuring home cooking trends through time, locating trending subjects in-home nutrition, and identifying possible market competitors (well-known and up-and-coming). You might also want to look at who is talking about cooking at home (e.g., influencers, celebrities, industry leaders, etc.) and what they are saying. Look at which retailers are referenced the most. Expand your search to include particular kitchen categories. Look at what people are actually purchasing. This research can aid in the creation and marketing of your product.

Consumer Insights to Supplement Market Data

Following that, you should supplement your macro-level market research with micro-level consumer insights. This may include, for example, creating buyer profiles based on the influencers or conversations you discovered during your market research. Learn about their cooking experience and needs, disposable income, quality expectations, and other minor facts that may influence your marketing strategy.

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You can get more involved in discussions about home cooking, food prep and planning, and even grocery savings. 

  • What common threads do you notice? 
  • Is it true that more individuals are cooking at home? 
  • Do they have less time and therefore require instruments that make cooking faster, easier, or at the very least easier to clean up? 

Isolating these discussions allows you to concentrate on certain information. 

It can be used to build your messaging and select the things you want to offer your customers.

Understanding the many variables that can affect your customer insights is the most difficult component of this approach. Genders, generations, professions, hobbies, experiences, and customer opinion of your brand or category form a complex ecosystem. Creating an accurate consumer profile that takes all of these factors into consideration is a difficult task, but it is one that brands must master.

Why Do Brands Need Both Market Research and Consumer Insights?

When brands introduce new goods, enter new markets, or make decisions that affect their customers, they require both a bird’s-eye view and a “street view” of the region. A high-level view provides general information about a specific difficulty and serves as a starting point. However, brands require a deep perspective to comprehend the complexities of the situation. These details help firms make better-educated decisions by providing a clearer picture of the “why” behind the “what.”

However, it is crucial to note that while consumer insights may complement what you discover in market research, the data can occasionally reflect two switches in the same light. When compared to market data, consumer insights may provide a very different version of the tale. This is because the data is derived from two distinct sources. Market research focuses on general industry data from news brands and other comparable sources rather than the consumer’s voice.

Using our kitchen firm as an example, we can hear from the media that grocery prices are rising and consumers are eating out more. However, consumers may be cooking just as much and saving money on groceries by using fewer items. This helps to save money and simplify the kitchen. This gap could be considerable, and we may only find out about it if we compare consumer insights to market research data.

Investing time in market research and gaining customer insights can help businesses reduce the amount of guesswork involved in a choice. Spending money to produce a product or service that your target audience will not buy is bad. Reduce the possibility that a bad product fit would harm your brand’s image and reputation. Most crucially, mix information (market data) with personal feelings (insights) to develop messaging that resonates with your target audience.

Using AI-Powered Consumer Insights

Any form of market research or consumer insights project is a significant task. Market research is frequently the simplest of the two to manage since it asks simple, clear questions and receives simple, direct replies. Brands, on the other hand, cannot say the same about consumer insights.

Why Do You Need Both Market Research and Consumer Insights? -
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The emotional nature of consumer insights produces a variety of complexities that brands must consider when using this data to make decisions. Words and tones can be interpreted in a variety of ways. 

Brands must examine what their customers say and how, when, where, and why they say it. Because context is essential in consumer insights, more brands are turning to AI-powered consumer insights for greater clarity.

AI-powered consumer insights employ algorithms to sift through digital data in real-time and convert data points into actionable intelligence. Rather than searching through social media conversations, manually counting keywords and mentions, and attempting to grasp the why behind a consumer’s opinion, AI-powered algorithms scan innumerable data points to extract significant insights relevant to your brand. It saves time, yes, but its scalability and dependability allow brands to move forward with confidence.

Last Updated on December 8, 2023


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.