Consumer insight surveys: how to unlock your market’s potential

How up to speed are you with what’s going on inside your customers’ heads?

Maybe it’s been a while since you checked in with them. Or you have new customers from a target audience you don’t know very well. Or perhaps you’re making some big (AKA expensive!) marketing decisions this year.

Whatever you’re working on, the time is ripe to gain insight from your target market.

The way to do that is with a consumer insights survey. It’s more than a tool to gather data and create charts that look awesome in slide decks.

In the right hands, it is a strategic tool that can unlock a more in-depth understanding of your target market. It enables informed decision-making for product development, targeted marketing, improved customer experience and overall business strategy enhancement.

You get all of that by diving into customer experiences, behaviors and expectations through things like research you can send to your consumers.

Below we’ll explain more about it, and help you get started.

Why run a consumer insight survey?

Guessing games are fun at parties but not so much in the boardroom. Consumer insights surveys give clarity and direction, which is essential in every imaginable market.

These surveys serve as a direct line to your customers’ thoughts, and should definitely inform your product development, help you refine marketing strategies, and drive impactful business decisions.

Here’s why they’re so valuable.

They can make a direct impact on the customer journey

Research and surveys reveal crucial consumer insights about how customers interact with your brand and services at every touchpoint—from consideration and online shopping to customer service and everything in between. This gives you the knowledge you need to improve what is happening at those touchpoints. You’ll learn how to smooth out any friction and improve their overall journey.

They help you refine your marketing and targeting

Looking for research inspiration? Look at your customer insights strategy. Zoom in on all the quirks of your target consumer. Surveys provide detailed information on customer preferences and behaviors — if you ask the right questions — and let you run more targeted advertising and effective marketing campaigns with more unique angles.

They can help you predict and prevent churn

By identifying trends and patterns in customer feedback, this type of research can alert you to potential issues that may lead to customer churn, giving you time to make things better for those people and improve overall customer loyalty.

They’re a guiding light for market expansion and product development

Making informed decisions about new markets or products is easier if your train of thought is backed by data from consumer insights and research. It ensures that your expansion efforts and new products align with actual customer needs and preferences.

They’re crucial for benchmarking brand performance

Research isn’t just how your brand is performing in numbers, it’s about how it’s doing in everyone’s heads (and hey, sometimes even hearts).

Consumer insight research helps you gauge where your brand stands in the eyes of your customers, offering a clear perspective on your brand’s performance and areas for improvement.

They’re a strategic tool in competitor monitoring

Just googling occasionally to see what your competitors are up to won’t cut it anymore. You need to run research to find out what their customers think about them and how you compare. Shopper insights are super valuable for strategic planning and positioning your brand effectively in the market.

Which insights software should you choose?

Here’s our rundown of the top consumer insights software that can help you gather data that’ll elevate your projects.

See the top software

Examples of consumer insights survey questions

Crafting the right research questions is crucial for unlocking meaningful insights from your customer and broader consumer research. These ten example questions are meant to give you a sense of what questions can help you tap into the heart of your consumers’ thoughts and preferences:

  1. What was the main problem you hoped our product/service would solve when you first purchased it?
  2. What factors influenced your decision to purchase our product?
  3. In what situation or context do you most commonly use our product?
  4. What trends or changes in your lifestyle have influenced how you use our product?
  5. Which of our marketing channels do you engage with most?
  6. How do you typically discover new products or brands? (e.g., online ads, word of mouth, social media)
  7. What is your primary reason for choosing our brand over competitors?
  8. How important are environmental sustainability factors in your purchasing decisions?
  9. What is your preferred method of communication for customer service inquiries?
  10. What’s one feature of our product you didn’t expect to enjoy/use but did?

These questions should, of course, be tailored to fit your specific industry or customer base, providing valuable research insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and perceptions.

Knowing what to ask starts by knowing what you’re after. Check out our advice and consumer insight examples to guide you through it from start to finish.

How to create a consumer insights survey (that gets you actionable data)

You need to know what you want to achieve with your research first.

But let’s take a closer look at what it takes to create an effective customer and consumer insights survey.

1. Define your survey objectives

Before diving into creating questions to hunt for those consumer insights, it’s essential to define what you are interested in and want to achieve with your survey—or better yet, with the results of your research.

Are you looking to gauge consumer sentiment or customer satisfaction and find specifically what to improve?

Want to understand buying behaviors and attitudes to perhaps invest in new sales channels? Or even assess brand perception so you can get a direction for your next big campaign?

Your objectives will guide every aspect of the survey, from writing questions to analyzing your data. Start by identifying the specific aspects of consumer behavior or sentiment that will be valuable to you and your team, and make sure these align with your broader company goals.

This will bring focus to your questions, what participants to reach and what channels to use for your research.

2. Ask the right questions for consumer insights

The questions you ask are the heart of your survey. To craft questions that provide valuable insights follow these research best practices.

Be clear and concise

Questions should be straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid technical jargon or ambiguous language that might confuse survey respondents. If you need to use complicated words, make sure you offer an explanation. You want to avoid people filling in an answer to a question they don’t really understand.

Avoid leading questions

Ensure your questions are neutral and don’t lead respondents toward a particular answer. Leading questions can skew your data and undermine the survey’s validity.

Mix question types

Mix things up with a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, rating scales, and open-ended questions, to gather a range of data. This also helps keep customers engaged. Walk through the survey yourself (and share it with your team) to get a sense of whether people will get bored or tired of answering the same types of questions over and over.

Consider question order

The order of questions can influence how respondents answer. Start with general questions and gradually move to more specific ones. It can be helpful to group questions about related topics together.

Test your survey

Before launching it to a broader audience, test your survey on a small group—and not just people who worked on the survey. This can help identify any confusing questions or technical issues. Aim for a test group that is an accurate representation of your intended audience.

3. Choose a survey distribution method (that works for you and your audience)

Deciding how to distribute your survey is as crucial as the questions you ask. Just because something is convenient for you to distribute and analyze, doesn’t mean it’ll get you the quantity and quality of responses you’re looking for.

Each method has its strengths and limitations, let’s look at some:

  • Online surveys: these are quick, cost-effective, and can reach a broad audience. With survey software platforms like Attest you get reach, efficiency, and analytical capabilities. It simplifies distribution and analysis and is easy to use for everyone involved.
  • Email questionnaires: ideal for reaching an existing customer base. Response rates can vary depending on your email list’s engagement which depends on what you usually send by email.
  • Social media: great for reaching a diverse audience, but responses may skew towards the more active demographic groups on each platform. It can be great for gathering quick customer feedback, though.
  • In-person or telephone interviews: this includes things like focus groups and can provide richer, more qualitative data. However, this type of research can be time-consuming and more expensive to administer. Qualitative methods like these are ideal for when you’re not necessarily looking for volume of responses, but to get into the nitty gritty of why people’s shopping attitudes and behaviors.

Now, those are some choices, but how do you actually pick the perfect one?

Start by looking at the consumers you’re trying to target and investigate where you’ll be most likely to reach them with your research.

Add to that your other research needs and budget, and you can quickly narrow it down.

4. Distribute your research to your target audience

It’s time to get the word out there and deliver your survey to your respondents. Here’s how to ensure your survey finds its audience:

  • Identify your target market: again, define you survey participants based on your objectives, and make it clear who you don’t want or need to reach. Are they customers, and if so, are they current or ex-customers? Is it consumers in the broader sense of the word? Clients of other brands? People who are interested in buying what you’re selling? You want your respondents to be super-relevant. Be picky.
  • Think about timing and frequency: timing is everything and can massively impact response rates. Avoid peak holiday seasons and consider the best time of day for sending out your research. The best thing to do is to send out the survey at different times and test what gives you the best response rates.
  • Use multiple channels for broad reach: to maximize responses, consider distributing your survey across multiple channels—email, social media, your website, via product packaging: get creative! Make sure you have a way to track which channel gives you the best results and look at what segment of participants you are reaching through that.

5. Analyze your consumer insights survey data

Next up: transform your data into actionable insights and steps to take. Here’s how to make the most of the data you’ve gathered:

  • Look for trends and patterns: analyze your data to identify any emerging trends, common sentiments, or notable patterns in customer behavior. With Attest you can easily do this by mixing and matching different factors to get a different view of your data.
  • Segment responses: break down the data by demographics or respondent groups to uncover specific insights relevant to different segments of your target market. Are there any differences between groups who might purchase? Is there overlap? This is where things can get interesting!
  • Visualize data: who doesn’t like a pie chart? Tools like charts, graphs, and heat maps can help you visualize complex data, making it easier to interpret and present to people in your business.
  • Timely analysis: don’t leave your results sitting in the fridge for too long, or they won’t be as fresh anymore. Quickly analyzing the data will make sure that your insights are still relevant and can have maximum impact.
  • Use tools for analysis: you don’t need to struggle in spreadsheets. Attest not only helps in survey distribution but also provides powerful tools for data analysis and visualization.

For real-world examples of how businesses have successfully analyzed and applied consumer insights, check out Attest’s customer stories.

6. Action your consumer insights!

Turning survey findings into informed business strategies is the ultimate goal. Step zero would be to get the entire company and all relevant stakeholders on board with the idea that the outcome of your survey will affect your output (we love this example of Clim8 who changed their marketing).

More on that in a bit. First, let’s look at how to effectively action your consumer insights, step by step:

  1. Develop targeted strategies: use the insights to inform specific areas of your business strategy, whether it’s marketing, product development, customer experience or market expansion. Take the example of Secret Cinema, who used consumer insights to design a new global product.
  2. Implement changes based on insights: make informed decisions and implement changes or improvements in your business.
  3. Monitor the impact: after implementing changes based on your survey findings, monitor the results to assess the impact of your actions.
  4. Regularly update your strategies: consumer trends and preferences can change, so regularly conducting new research is crucial for staying current.

Your consumer insights team loves it, we love it — but how do you get the other stakeholders (like Finance or the C-suite etcetera) on board? This is one of the biggest roadblocks in most companies.

Here’s how to make sure you get the internal buy-in to make a difference with your research.

  • Link insights to business goals: demonstrate how these insights and their actions align with broader business objectives.
  • Propose actionable next steps: don’t just present data—suggest actionable steps based on your findings. This shows initiative and helps stakeholders envision how these insights will have a demonstrable return on investment.
  • Invite feedback and collaboration: encourage questions and discussions. Stakeholder engagement is crucial for the successful implementation of strategies based on your findings.

Send your first consumer insights survey and reliable consumer insights data in days

Are you eager to spring into action and make some impactful decisions for your brand, drive more sales, and create more imaginative campaigns?

Your first survey could launch a lot sooner than you think, thanks to Attest. We help you talk to your target market in an effective way. And you’ll get a dedicated research expert at your disposal who will help you make the most out of your data. Create a consumer insights survey with our consumer insight software today.

Which consumer insights platform is right for you?

Here’s our rundown of the top consumer insights platforms that can help you gather data that’ll elevate your projects.

Find your platform

Nikos Nikolaidis

Senior Customer Research Manager 

Nikos joined Attest in 2019, with a strong background in psychology and market research. As part of Customer Research Team, Nikos focuses on helping brands uncover insights to achieve their objectives and open new opportunities for growth.

See all articles by Nikos