The Power of Buyer Insight


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Analtyics: Predictive2Analtyics: Predictive2 (Photo credit: The IBM Curiosity Shop)

Getting insight into the changing buyer is hard. Just when you think you have enough, new technology advances causes another shift in buyer behaviors. The results can be companies caught flat-footed in the marketplace. The result is missing a market opportunity passing them by. They just did not have enough insight to know.

The fast changing mobile smartphone marketplace serves as a good example. The world has flipped upside down for the likes of BlackBerry and Nokia. The trip from the top to the bottom can be fast. Without insight into major shifts happening in buyer behaviors, companies can be on similar trips.

What exactly is buyer insight?

Here is a simple definition:

Perspectives and knowledge about your buyers related to goals, needs, attributes, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors derived from the use of qualitative research and quantitative data analysis.

The definition is simple but putting it all together is not simple. Two big challenges for companies today are getting the data first and translating data into insights. Other words, now that you have the data you have to figure out what it means.

There is no magic number of specific insights. They are unique for each marketplace. The goal of buyer insights is to get at the unarticulated and the not so obvious. Buyers do not always say what is truly on their minds or have difficulty expressing. Observing is equally important because you see what has not been obvious before.

What does it take?

Researching the unarticulated and the not so obvious takes certain skills, experience, attributes, and education. I am afraid that it is not as simple as assigning a few junior marketers to do this type of research – in addition to their normal day job. Keep this in mind – buyers will not be as forthcoming of their deep unarticulated thoughts with your company directly. Those who have followed me over the years know I strongly recommend third party qualitative research expertise. We use experts for quantitative predictive analytics. Should we not do the same for qualitative analysis?

What about buyer personas?

The connection to buyer personas is this: buyer personas are your communications framework for buyer insights. They can help reduce the complex nature of qualitative and quantitative analysis into a meaningful 360-degree view of your buyers. They will lack meaning without buyer insight.

To stay on top of changing buyer behaviors, make a commitment to buyer insight. Understand it for the power it can provide. Do it right, get experts, and make it a part of your strategy every year – not just this year or next.

Otherwise, you just might be caught flat-footed.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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