Staying on Top of Consumer Insights Trends with Always-On Platforms

In a world where change is the only constant, one thing remains steadfast: the power of the consumer. As professionals entrusted with the longevity and success of clients’ brands, it’s non-negotiable that we remain not several steps but right alongside consumers in their ever-shifting wants, needs, and aspirations. But how do we do this in practice? The answer is our ability to cultivate, analyze, and act upon consumer insights in real-time.

The Power Dynamic Shift

In the past, the narrative was more straightforward. Brands projected an image, and a passive consumer base absorbed the message and parroted it back through their purchasing decisions. However, the digital age turned consumers into active participants in brand image creation. With social media and online platforms at their fingertips, consumers declared a new power dynamic—now, they have the power to set the tone, and brands that fail to listen or adapt do so at their peril.

To create a sustainable strategy, it is vital to understand that the pendulum has swung. And it is no longer just about data, but the right data, at the right time, in the proper context, and presented in a way that promotes a deeper understanding and swift action. Consumer insights professionals, market researchers, and business strategists need access to platforms that provide real-time insights more than ever before.

Dynamic Consumer Understanding

Today’s consumer is better informed, more demanding, and unfathomably fickle than their predecessors. Traditional tracking and project-based market research studies might still have their place, but they cannot fully capture the fluctuating nuances of consumer behavior in an internet minute. To succeed, we need to marry traditional research methods with the agility and immediacy of online tools.

This requires a paradigm shift in our approach. We must move from being reactive (waiting for the next market research report) to being proactive (able to understand and anticipate changes before they occur).

Smart Targets: The Key to Proactive Strategy

To achieve this proactive strategy, it is essential to define and monitor your target audience(s) dynamically and actively. Successful marketers need a systematic way to update and evolve their understanding of their target audience(s) as those consumers’ needs, wants, attitudes, and behaviors evolve. At Big Village, we help marketers achieve this through:

  • Data Enrichment: With access to 1,000s of data points on consumer purchases, shopping behavior, and media consumption among millions of consumers, we enrich your understanding of your target with more data for a holistic understanding of your audience. With a regularly updated data stack, our brand partners can stay current on where their target shops are, the products they buy, and the media they engage with.
  • Always-On Access to the Target for Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Increasingly, brands and the agencies that support them are faced with questions about consumer sentiment that have not yet been answered from previous research. When those answers are needed quickly, an always-on platform provides access to your target for bespoke research in just hours. This dramatically increases the value of a consumer insights team by drastically increasing the relevancy and timeliness of insights to inform decision-making.
  • Update Audience Personas/Profiles with Each Project: All too often, market research projects are disconnected from each other and can make it challenging to build comprehensive knowledge about an evolving consumer segment. Updating your target audience’s personas after each project is a critical step that is often overlooked. These updates provide valuable insight to your entire team, who can easily stay up-to-date on your target’s attitudes and behaviors, ensuring that every decision considers your audiences’ current mindset.

We do this with one goal – to move from hindsight to insight by having real-time awareness of consumer trends and emerging patterns. While traditionally, this process involved periodic consumer feedback or market research projects, the always-on approach means that these insights become an ongoing ripple of consumer dialogue that brands can tune into and act upon instantly.

Implementing Always-On Insights Platforms

Adopting an always-on insights platform requires a shift in mindset. It demands an acceptance that markets are no longer static entities assessed annually or quarterly. Instead, they are dynamic, living, breathing organisms that evolve daily. It challenges us to be ‘always on’ as well—always attentive, always listening, always ready to respond. We find this mindset shift to be invigorating for clients.

For most consumer insights professionals, it can be frustrating not to have the answers stakeholders seek and no fast, budget-friendly way to get the answers in time for decision-making. Always-on platforms eliminate the need to spin up a new project. The target audience is already prepped and available for any possible research methodology. Need to get high-impact quotes or videos from prospects to drive a point home in an important meeting? Or perhaps you need solid, reliable, high-quality quantitative data to support a substantial investment decision? You may have a lot of features on the table for an innovation where a sophisticated choice model would efficiently reduce the list to the features most attractive to consumers. Or you may need some good old-fashioned focus groups. All is possible and made faster and less expensive, though always-on platforms.

Tools and Technology

There’s no one-size-fits-all tool for always-on insights. The right solution should provide the ability for many different methodologies – the more you can answer within the platform, the more influential the investment will be to your business. Before investing in a platform, consider the different research approaches your team will need and ensure the platform’s capabilities align with these needs. Choosing a platform that offers integrations with other tools or technologies to enhance insights implementation and analysis may also be beneficial.

Implementing an always-on insights platform can elevate your market research and audience understanding from reactive to proactive.

Human Touch

While technology is a facilitator, human intelligence remains irreplaceable. Skilled, experienced analysts must be involved to help make sense of the data and understand the implications of the insights. The stories, the why behind the what, is what turns data into actionable insight. Technology is an excellent enabler of fast, efficient data analysis. However, technology can not (yet) replace skilled analysts’ ability to make sense of the data collected from consumers and translate that into implications a brand or agency can act on. Leaving too much of your analysis and interpretation of data to technology is a significant risk and is avoidable with the right partner.

The Future is Always-On

Consumer insights have always been a cornerstone of successful marketing and business strategy. With the prevalence of digital channels and the increasing complexity of consumer markets, always-on insights platforms are not merely an innovation but a necessity.

The future of consumer understanding lies in our ability to capture and act upon trends and changes as they occur. The power of always-on platforms is in their ability to ensure that brands remain as dynamic and responsive as the consumers we aim to serve. The era of ‘always-on’ is here, and brands that activate it to the fullest are the ones that will leap ahead.

Are you ready to make the shift to always-on insights? It’s not easy, but the rewards are clear—deeper customer loyalty, better market positioning, and the agility to survive and thrive in the new economy.


Written by David Albert, General Manager, Big Village

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