These days a digital strategy is essential so a business can retain its competitive edge, develop transformative growth and remain profitable, but where does a business need to begin when deciding on how to approach a digital strategy?
Digital strategy begins with the customer. After all, a business is planning to reach customers with all of its planning and strategizing. Therefore, the first step for any digital strategy is a level of customer analysis leading to customer insight.
What Is Customer Insight?
Customer insight is just what it sounds like. It’s an insight into and understanding of the customer. At its best, customer insight will go beyond data and demographics and form a more complete picture of the customer as not just a statistic but a whole person with a set of values, needs, desires, typical behaviors and more.
For this reason, customer insight involves not just quantitative data or numbers and statistics about customer behavior but qualitative data such as customers’ self-reporting about what they may find attractive about a brand or a narrative description of their spending behavior.
Google analytics and a number of other tools such as surveys can be useful in gathering quantitative data while observing customers and surveys with more open-ended questions can provide qualitative data.
What To Do With The Data
There are a number of aspects to look at once this information is gathered. A process known as segmenting, divides customers into different groups based on such criteria as behavior, demographics and attitude.
This acknowledges that customers differ from one another and allows different types of customers to be targeted. The information can be used to predict such factors as future reactions of customers, the lifetime value of customers and what actions are most likely to increase customer loyalty.
Predicting Customer Behavior
Customer insight is key at every level of a digital strategy. With customer data properly gathered and analyzed, a business will be able to predict things such as which channels customers will respond to most on social media.
Other information gathered will determine how customers use their mobile devices and how the business can optimize its outreach in response to that, and what things will make customers click through from a newsletter or banner ad or spend more time on a website.
Without customer insight, this is all just guesswork, and a business could waste a significant amount of time and money acting on received wisdom and what seems like common sense about customers only to find those assumptions were wrong.
The Importance of Having A Plan
Creating the right digital strategy from the outset is important because it can be confusing and costly to revamp a digital campaign midstream.
If a business commences a digital marketing campaign without any real customer insight, it may eventually discover it has been using less influential channels to disseminate content that is of little use or interest to its customer base and to potential customers.
In the worst case scenario, a poorly planned and researched digital strategy can actually drive customers away by presenting a brand with which customers do not wish to be identified.
Key Takeaway For Your Business
Customer insight will make it possible for a business to develop both a baseline for comparison and specific goals for growth and improvement. Customer insight is the first and one of the most important steps toward planning an effective digital strategy.
Do you understand what your customers want? How they like to find their favorite products and services? What social channels they engage with? Failing to effectively plan the Digital Strategy of your business can cost you time, a healthy budget, customers and perhaps most importantly, damage the reputation of your brand.
Steve Minks has over 25 years of IT & Digital expertise with a background in Property Development, Telecoms and as an accredited Health & Fitness professional. As a Digital consultant with test.icesugarmedia.com, Steve also enjoys writing on a range of subjects, functional exercise, visiting historical places and spending time with his family.
This article was first published on Business 2 Community