Marketers can sit in boardrooms and speculate about what consumers want. Or they can find out what people say directly about their brand and products by visiting popular sites where information is publicly available. The second choice is preferable. Alternative data collection makes this possible.
What Are Consumer Insights?
Consumer insight is an interpretation of collected data to determine consumer attitudes toward a brand or product. Consumer insights allow a company to prepare marketing strategies and upgrade products according to the preferences of customers. These insights are produced from a close analysis of data retrieved from pages by web scraping proxies. It is even possible to scrape BestBuy products without coding.
Consumer insights are preferable to other sources because they are drawn directly from consumer opinions and attitudes. Reading articles on websites and newspapers about market trends may be instructive, but they are often lagging indicators of actions consumers have already taken. In other words, market trend news stories are stale, whereas there is always fresh consumer information on the internet ready to be mined for eCommerce strategies.
What Are Alternative Data Sources?
Alternative data is basically any information that isn’t found in traditional research types, such as financial reports, conference calls, and media sources. Alternative data is everywhere, particularly on the web.
Social media updates, review sites, and eCommerce product pages provide an in-depth view of consumers, indicate what they like, dislike, and what products they are looking for. Retrieving and analyzing this data is key to creating a strategy that will zero in on consumers. Automating these tasks will provide a steady flow of updated data.
Take It From Amazon
Amazon is the leader in taking consumer insights and developing new strategies. For many people, Amazon was the first place to suggest a product they might like based on past purchases and browsing habits.
Because Amazon is a veteran at leveraging consumer insights and has so much data from visitors and third-party sellers, it can take this data proficiency to the next level and use the information to create its own private label branded products. Because Amazon has such a wealth of information about consumers and products at its disposal, it can be competitive and create items that compete.
Amazon has provided such formidable competition with its private label and ranking system that the eCommerce giant has been hit with a suit by the European Union that it violated its competition rules. The EU smacked Amazon’s hand for using data on its third-party sellers for its own private label brands.
Although it is not clear how the case will be resolved, and most businesses don’t have the reach or power of Amazon to create such a dramatic breach of competition rules, the takeaway is that user-generated data can provide value the degree that can truly disrupt the competition.
How To Obtain Alternative Data?
Amazon needs to look no further than its giant eCommerce website to find a rich array of user-generated and alternative data. Most marketers have to mine the data from other sites, such as social media platforms, competitor websites, eCommerce pages, and review sites.
Web scraping tools are an effective way to retrieve information. Locating websites and information on pages is the first step, then a web scraper lifts the HTML code and stores it in a database. Making a web scraper isn’t difficult for people who are adept at coding. Otherwise, there are many types of automated web scraping tools available.
After the data is scraped, it can be analyzed to create consumer insights. Data analytics and sentiment analysis tools give a full picture of customer preferences, competitor strategies, and product features. AI sentiment analysis tools interpret customers’ moods and provide honest feedback on how they feel about products or services.
Getting accurate consumer insights can make it easier to:
Gain an Early Understanding of Consumer Trends
By the time articles about consumer trends hit the newspapers or financial websites, the train has already left the station. With tools available to generate consumer insights from alternative data, spotting trends happens faster than it would by gleaning the headlines.
Consumer insights provide an early view of what customers are thinking and their preferences. They determine market trends, so naturally, the customer’s voice is dominant in forming a strategy.
Perform Gap Analysis
One way to get an edge on the competition is to find what they lack and fill in the gap. Using alternative data will identify what is missing from their offerings and customer service.
With this information, it is not difficult to quickly provide an alternative and win over customers from the rival company. This is particularly true if customers have complained about social media or reviews consistently about a missing feature they would like to see.
Fine-Tune Marketing Communication
Listening and talking directly to customers is the key to creating brand loyalty. In a world where social media is a primary form of communication, people want to be heard. Creating a genuinely responsive brand requires getting to know your customers with alternative data.
No one wants to sound out of touch. It is unfortunately clear when a brand or campaign is not on message. It is like a joke bombing at a party. The more a person hangs out with a crowd, the quicker they can pick up the lingo and fit in. Brands should be where their customers are. Alternative data can help a brand pick up their typical customer’s tongue, mood, and style.
Alternative Data is Here to Stay
Alternative data, in a sense, is already mainstream. Most people use social media and reviews daily to socialize and guide their shopping decisions. Effectively identifying, collecting, and analyzing data is the key to communicating with customers and inspiring brand loyalty.