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People around the world buy products. It’s a common fact that underscores economies everywhere. But different people in different places and in different stages of their lives buy things for different reasons. Thus, sellers must figure out not just what people want, but why. The reasons are endless, depending on individual consumer attitudes that change as people move and work and experience random lives in various places and at varying times. The only way to even attempt to guess why one product is (or could become) more popular than another is to investigate the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of specific groups of people. Here’s what you need to know to gauge consumer attitudes using market research:
Consumer attitude refers to the amalgamation of experiences a person has that lead him or her to hold a certain opinion about objects in the surrounding world. In business, consumer attitude influences consumer behavior, guiding individuals as they purchase, use and dispose of products and services.
Businesses use market research as a way to gain insight into consumer attitudes and behaviors, crafting surveys and using various other qualitative and quantitative tools to identify factors affecting the consumer path to purchase. Here are a few specific variables typically measured to help gauge consumer attitude:
Overall customer satisfaction describes how happy a customer is with his or her interactions with a company’s overall brand, including its products, services, and other combined experiences (such as web exposures, marketing materials, etc.). Research shows that having satisfied customers is an important factor in developing loyal customers. Thus, when companies measure customer satisfaction, they are better able to determine whether or not their products and services are meeting the needs of consumers. If they are, they can focus on turning those who are satisfied into repeat customers.
Customer satisfaction can be measured via a variety of metrics, including Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score, and Customer Effort Score. While many of these scores won’t necessarily delve into the motivation for consumer behavior and, thus, don’t reveal much about specific consumer attitudes, they will shed light on the general perception consumers have of a company, with higher scores indicating a predominantly positive consumer attitude and allowing companies to assume they are doing a majority of the right things!
For a more in-depth exploration of customer satisfaction, companies can focus on consumer satisfaction with a single product. Frequently administered as a survey following the purchase of the product, this type of measurement provides swift feedback that can be used for future (or continued) development of positive brand experiences, but it also can be used to remedy potential problems so that overall satisfaction with a brand is not negatively impacted in the present.
Companies can use brand perception, awareness, and/or tracking studies to gauge consumer attitudes, as well. Like customer satisfaction studies, brand research provides a comprehensive view of consumer opinion regarding a brand.
Monitoring social media accounts; signing up for Google alerts; analyzing the number of complaints and more can provide valuable data which companies can use to evaluate whether or not they are meeting the expectations of consumers and fostering positive attitudes in the people they serve.
Of course, the only way to really understand why someone behaves in a certain way is to ask about his or her thought processes leading up to the action at hand. It’s obvious the actions a person takes; it’s far less evident, the reason(s) motivating that response, though. To really explore consumer attitude, companies need to use qualitative market research measures capable of probing consumer thoughts and emotions (such as focus groups and interviews), asking pointed questions that really delve into the motivations behind their consumers’ actions and thoughts so that they can then use what they learn to influence future consumer behavior.
Market research is critical for success. To learn more about using market research to accurately gauge consumer attitudes and improve your business’s products and services, please contact our team of experienced researchers at Research America.