How to Draw Innovation Inspiration From Customer Data

Data is the most valuable tool that any business has access to today. 

With the right insights, you can determine which of your marketing strategies generate the most return on investment or which audience you should target with your new product to earn the most revenue.

Data can show you where you sit in your industry in relation to other businesses and highlight what you need to do to be more competitive. 

Customer data is just one of the forms of information that companies can collect in the modern landscape. Companies carefully collect this information for a range of reasons. 

For instance, with customer data, you can learn where your audience comes from, what marketing messages people respond to, and which of your products are the most popular. 

However, did you know that you can draw inspiration for innovation from customers too?

Using Customer Data to Discover New Ideas

Your customers’ preferences are the key to determining whether your new products or services will be a success or a failure. With that in mind, it only makes sense to look at the information you’ve gathered about your customers when you’re trying to innovate. 

Leading companies around the world are starting to take their customer’s insights more seriously when it comes to facilitating growth. Businesses like EA ship new games and programming tools to consumers to get their feedback before an idea gets a final release date. BMW publishes online toolkits so customers can develop their own ideas for vehicles. 

Here are some of the ways you can draw innovation from customer data.

Look at What Customers are Asking About

The easiest way to gather insights from your customers to support your innovation team is to just listen to what they’re already talking about. 

When your customers speak to your sales team, what questions do they need to ask before they’re willing to make a purchase? When your clients are contacting your team because they’re confused or unhappy with something, what do they talk about?

You can even read through customer reviews and testimonials – both bad and good, to get insights. 

A good review will show you what kind of features and functionality you need to double down on when you’re investing in the right solutions for your target market. A bad review shows you what kind of problems you need to fix. 

Start by speaking to your sales and customer service teams, then search for trends in the feedback that your company gets directly from your customers. 

Gather Insights from Questionnaires, Surveys, and Social Media

If just listening to your audience isn’t enough, you might need to look into ways to support and enhance the conversation. 

For instance, ask people in your community to fill out questionnaires and surveys that ask them what kind of products and features they’d like to see from your brand. It’s often a good idea to give your customers a good reason to provide this information. 

For instance, you could offer a discount code or free gift to everyone who agrees to give you useful feedback. Or you could enter everyone who completes the survey into a prize draw for a chance to win something big. 

This is an excellent option if you don’t have much of a budget and you want to generate some buzz for your brand. 

Taking the time to mine through those survey results for common trends and insights will give you an excellent launching point for your new idea, service, or product, even if you decide to eventually take the concept in a new direction. 

You can also collect information that customers have left about your website on other platforms online, like popular review sites. 

Achieving the necessary volume and activity of an audience willing to share ideas might present an initial issue. Using a unified platform such as IdeaScale allows organizations and businesses to tap into the creativity of a large and engaged crowd ready to respond to any challenge presented to them.

Another benefit of sourcing ideas through IdeaScale is that it allows users to co-create and organize ideas into valuable insights about what you can build, develop, or improve next to delight your audience.

Collect Insights from your Website or App

Customer engagement is crucial to create a customer base that’s willing to share valuable feedback for your business. You can engage your customers in a variety of different ways, from sharing content on your website in the form of blogs and videos to letting your audience learn more about your company and engage with your brand through a dedicated business app. 

Many companies create apps these days because they’re an excellent way to connect with consumers where they spend the majority of their time – on their smartphones. Mobile apps also help you to build a deeper relationship with your customers

You could use them to let consumers add products to wish lists that they can buy later, rate items with stars or reach out to customer service through instant chat. 

Whether you choose a website or an app as the main point of engagement for your business, the good news is that these digital tools will collect valuable data and information for you. 

You can build analytics tools into your site or app that show you how your audience members use your digital tools, what kind of pages they browse on your website, or even which FAQs they browse most. 

These data points could help you to make important decisions for your company’s growth. 

Leverage Customer Insights to Grow

Customer data is an extremely valuable tool for today’s business leaders. It helps companies to learn what their target audience really needs from them, so they can create the kind of products that generate both revenue and buzz. 

The more you listen to your customers with meaningful data insights, the easier it will be to grow your company.

Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter @michelle_laurey.

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