Your online community is much more than just a space for your customers to gather. It’s also one of the most valuable business intelligence resources you’ll ever have. Communities can serve as hotbeds of product ideation and customer feedback. Add the right consumer insight tool into the mix, and you’ve got everything you need to turn the data into actionable insights that drive smarter decision-making and propel your business forward.
What is a consumer insight tool?
Insights drive business decisions, and what better place to look for insights that matter than by heading straight to your community? The only problem is that a thriving community is also a rapidly growing repository of tribal knowledge that manually searching through it becomes a practical impossibility. When you have many thousands of posts, comments, and profiles, it fast becomes necessary to deploy a consumer insight tool to make sense out of everything.
Gathering people and ideas in a branded online community is the first step. By empowering your members to give you their feedback, share their ideas, and help one another get more out of your products and services, you have the foundations of a successful community. But, it’s much harder to qualify and quantify information if you’re relying on manual methods alone. That’s where a consumer insight tool comes in as a way to combine member activities with data-driven insights.
Determine trends and detect outliers in minutes
As people and businesses become more dependent on technology, digital activities are generating increasingly vast amounts of data. With the so-called digital universe almost doubling in size every two years, it’s now impossible to make sense of data through manual means alone. A consumer insight tool is a type of data analytics platform that presents this data in a more manageable format, typically through visualizations like pie charts and graphs.
By integrating an insights platform with your community, you can better understand members, identify trends, and forecast future outcomes. Instead of manually rifling through thousands of profiles or row upon row of spreadsheet data, you get a big-picture glance at what’s important. If, for example, engagement rates are increasing rapidly, then everything is working well. If they’re not, then your insights platform will help you identify the areas that need improvement. In another case, your member count might be rising consistently month-on-month, yet there’s one month when the trend is broken – visual insights tools will let you instantly isolate the outlier so you can determine the reasons behind it.
Combine qualitative and quantitative research
First and foremost, a branded online community is a space where members build relationships with one another as well as with representatives of your brand. Once you’ve got them together in a place where they can interact meaningfully, you already have the foundations of an insights platform. With the right software, you’ll be able to gather intelligence and use this to improve your engagement efforts and empower better customer experiences.
Take discussion forums, for example. These allow members to post their questions or discuss subjects of their choosing. These discussions can raise awareness to important issues, such as recurring problems with your products or services or ideas on how you can improve your value proposition. With the right analytics platform at your disposal, you can instantly detect popular discussions and glean insights into the concerns that matter most.
Drive innovation through crowd-sourced ideation
Let’s start with one of the best examples of a product-ideation community. Lego Ideas provides fans of one of the world’s best-loved toy companies with a platform where they can share their own creations. With integrated voting and other feedback features, the ideas that get enough attention end up on the store shelves. There’s simply no better way to build a customer-centric brand that empowers fans to share, develop, and even sell their ideas.
Combined with data visualization tools, community managers can instantly identify the most popular ideas and feed them through a series of stages, such as active, in review, or complete. They can also get a big picture look at the overall quality and quantity of ideas being created over a specific timespan. In other words, it’s the marriage of customer engagement and data that leads to a community that drives innovation and puts customer success first.