Marketing serves a number of purposes for a business.From driving new custom to embedding brand loyalty from existing customers, there are plenty of reasons why marketing can help your firm develop. However, in recent years, another reason has emerged – and that’s insight collection. Certain marketing strategies, such as loyalty cards and focus groups, are great ways to both embed customer allegiance to you while also gaining key insights into consumer behavior.
Loyalty cards are a prime example of a business’s data collection and brand attachment aims being rolled into one. Every time a customer uses a loyalty card, they gain some sort of reward – such as points, or in-store vouchers – which incentivize them to return to the store in the future. However, in order to get these points, the customer must associate their card with their purchases, perhaps at checkout.
This gives the business a golden opportunity to analyze data. By seeing what groceries customers buy on a regular basis, for example, supermarkets can use the information they gain to find out about buying habits. It’s important, however, to invest in the appropriate technology to do this. A back-end system that compiles all of the data and turns it into an easilyreadable format is essential for extracting insights, and it will pay for itself over and over.
There are plenty of firms out there, such as Iconic Industry, that can help you to do this – Iconic Industry is, in fact, a great case study as it focuses not just on this sort of data analysis but also on product development, online advertising and the wider context. This need for technical analysis tools, though, means that the loyalty cards often used by smaller businesses – such as manuallystamped business cards, which can be redeemed after a certain number of uses – are not ideal, because there’s no way to track specific consumer choices.
Focus groups work a little differently. In many cases, customers will be incentivized to share their opinions about very specific product issues and questions in return for a reward, such as store credit. For the lucky customers who get asked to join a focus group in return for a voucher or other reward, the pay-off is certainly worth it – and for the business, it’s a chance to get representative and balanced answers to particular product issues and questions.
However, a downside of the focus group model is that only some customers can be enrolled – so while you may get data insights and increased loyalty from a hundred or so customers a year, it may not be worth running it for everybody. The advantage of the loyalty card model and similar systems, in contrast, is that they can be rolled out to the entire customer base of a particular store.
There are plenty of innovative and exciting ways to find out what your customers are thinking. From the pinpointed and specific insights that you can gain from a focus group to the whole-market data that a loyalty card scheme can give you, there’s no way quite like marketing to get a handle on just what your customer base is thinking about.