All successful marketing is hinged on one core principle: Information. Information about the product, the market, and the consumer. After all, marketing itself is “the exchange of specific information for consumer interaction,” which mirrors the definition of communication as “the act of giving and receiving information.” One might say that marketing, properly regarded, is not an action with a finite goal but, as business continues, an ongoing process of giving and receiving information.
Like all communication, the information being given and received must be properly understood in context for the content to have any value. Marketing has become as much a science as a conversation, and the secret – if a secret ever it was – is hearing both sides of the conversation. In the science, two fundamental disciplines define the information critical to understanding, and responding in, the conversation.
Marketing research is a systematic effort to gather and record information about consumers and/or markets, and analysing the data collected to formulate communication strategies based on the findings and implications of the results of the research.
It is important to not confuse “Market Research” with “Marketing Research” though due to the similarity in terms this often happens. Although both fields involve consumers, marketing research specifically concerns the marketing process, such as the effectivity of advertising and the salesforce as well as how changes in the process affects consumer behaviour. Market Research, on the other hand, is the organised effort to gather information about the intended market and consumers, to help a business identify and analyse the needs and size of the market and who the competitors are. It tends to be based on facts and statistics that describes in what products and services consumers are interested and how viable a new product introduction might be in the market.
Market and marketing research must be followed up with consumer insight analyses.
Consumer insight is a non-obvious understanding of the behaviours and motivations of customers, enabling a business to determine why they behave the way that they do relative to the brand. This insight enables a business to affect purchasing behaviour and customer retention.
Consumer insight is gained from analysing market research and acts as a bridge between research and marketing providing actionable insights based on the research. Its purpose is to understand why the consumer cares about the brand as well as the mindsets, moods, motivation, desires, and aspirations that motivates their attitude and actions in relation to the brand.
In simpler terms, market research delivers data and statistics, while consumer insight delivers that data and statistics as well as the story of the consumer experience. Research tells a business WHAT is happening while insight tells a business WHY it is happening. Moreover, insight helps a business to understand how to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to help them boost sales and increase profitability.
In the modern market, where the traditional AIDA sales funnel is no longer in effect and a new non-linear funnel is redefining marketing in new and complex ways, understanding what motivates a consumer is more important than ever in order to be able to meet them at any point in their customer journey.