The bread and butter for any marketer, no matter what industry you're in, is customer insights. And how do you find them? Through user experience research.

That might seem like a pretty bold statement, but let's think about it for a hot second.

Let's say a business website isn't converting as well as the marketer would like. Perhaps it's below the industry benchmark. It's not an uncommon problem; according to Contentsquare, over a third (35.6%) of web sessions result in frustration for visitors, with slow-loading pages being the primary source of friction and negative impact.

So, maybe it's the page speed? The marketer goes to the technical SEO manager and asks them to see if they can better optimize the page speed. A few weeks go by, and there's barely any improvement. They're frustrated. They can't seem to pinpoint the problem.

Of course, the issue in this scenario is that the marketer didn't ask customers what they thought was holding them back from converting. Had they done so, they might have found out customers weren't staying on the site because they had trouble finding the information they were looking for, which would have saved the marketer time and frustration trying to fix the wrong issue.

Maybe that marketer was you at some point? It's okay, it happens. That's why we're here to talk about how user research can help you uncover valuable customer insights for your marketing strategies. In particular, we'll be covering:

  • Customer insights

  • How usability testing can help you understand your customers better

  • How to use customer experience insights

When you're done, you'll be able to create data-driven campaigns and optimize your customer experiences.

Understanding customer insights

The first element we need to understand is the concept itself – what are customer insights?

Customer insights are collections of data primarily generated from customers, such as feedback, user behavior, and research results, that businesses interpret to help them understand their customers more deeply and make better-informed decisions.

Both qualitative and quantitative research on your customers’ individual behaviors, as well as market research, can have a significant impact on the direction and viability of business ideas.

Customer insights

Why customer insights are important

Without customer insights, you play a big guessing game with your business and how you engage your audience. It might seem obvious – asking customers about their problems and solving them by offering a new product or an improved version of what they already use.

But it's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have an amazing idea, rushing it through product development and launch, only for it to fail or not perform as well as you hoped because there weren't enough customer insights to inform the direction of the idea.

Before starting any product development process (or during, if your business uses a continuous product discovery cycle), gathering ‌customer insights will help you answer a bunch of questions before spending resources on further development, such as:

  • How do customers think and feel about this product/feature?

  • How do customers currently interact with this product/feature?

  • Do our customers use a competitor to resolve a pain point?

  • What can we do to increase our conversion rate?

  • Is information about X product/feature easy for customers to find, and if so, do they find it useful?

While you can answer some of these questions with market research, in most cases, you'll need to speak to real customers to find answers – which is normal; 65% of user researchers primarily rely on their own customers for research.

Another reason customer insights are important is that they also help your business build customer journey maps and personalize product messaging based on what stage of the journey customers are experiencing.

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How customer insights drive effective marketing strategies

So, from understanding what customer insights are and why they're important, you've probably already got an idea of how they drive effective marketing strategies – you listen to customers, work out solutions based on what they've shared, and communicate the solutions in a way they'll easily find, understand, and use.

But instead of talking more about theory, we thought we'd speak to some in-house marketers about the real-life, in-practice impact of using customer insights in marketing.

First, we asked them about the general benefits they've seen from using customer insights and what purpose the insights serve in their marketing roles.

Laia Quintana is the Head of Marketing and Sales at TeamUp. For her, customer insights from UX research serve as a compass:

"The results from UX research are like a compass for our marketing strategies. They provide direction and focus. For instance, by understanding the specific challenges our users face, we can create marketing messages that speak directly to these pain points. Additionally, UX research helps us understand the motivations and goals of our users. This allows us to align our marketing strategies with what our users truly value and need."

Having a direct (positive) impact on marketing strategies and objectives was a common theme throughout our responses. For example, Diana Zheng, Head of Marketing at Stallion Express, mentioned how UX research provides a "goldmine" of insights:

"At Stallion Express, our UX team performs extensive usability testing to ensure a smooth customer journey. From easy-to-navigate website navigation to easy-to-use interfaces, we test every part of our platform. We analyze user behavior and gather feedback to improve our platform continually.

UX research is a goldmine for an internal marketer like me. A great UX has a direct impact on our marketing objectives. Good user experiences lead to brand loyalty, customer retention, and increases our bottom line."

Finally, Mark McShane, Marketing Lead and Managing Director of AED Training, also discussed how customer insights directly impact how the brand tailors its marketing strategies:

"By implementing usability enhancements, we hone audience segmentation and refine our marketing strategies accordingly. Understanding who uses our product and their methods of utilization enables us to craft targeted, compelling campaigns – campaigns that resonate with current and prospective clients."

To demonstrate its efficacy, we also asked these in-house marketers about specific cases where using customer insights had a direct impact on marketing campaign results.

Here's what using customer insights did for Laia and the folks at TeamUp:

"A memorable campaign that was heavily influenced by UX research was our ‘Seamless Scheduling’ initiative. We discovered through user interviews that many fitness businesses were spending excessive time managing class schedules. We focused our campaign on how our product could simplify this process.

The result? A 23% increase in new subscriptions and a 13% increase in user activity during the campaign period. These numbers underscore the importance of UX research in shaping effective marketing strategies."

Over at Stallion Express, Diana and her team used customer insights to create a better checkout experience, leading to more conversions:

"Our UX insights were at the core of a recent campaign. By customizing the website's checkout process based on the user's preferences, we saw a 20% boost in conversion rates. Not only did this data-driven approach increase sales, but it also improved customer satisfaction."

Finally, Mark shared plenty of details of not only the results of campaigns from UX research but also exactly what problem customer insights helped him uncover:

"The campaign that particularly stands out involved integrating UX research findings into our email marketing strategy: through usability testing, we discovered customers struggled with non-intuitive elements of our training dashboard; consequently, after redesigning the dashboard for clarity and ease of access – all these changes culminating in user-centric improvement – we launched a targeted campaign to spotlight this revamp.

The results spoke volumes: our email open rates surged by 27%; click-through rates jumped by 19% – a testament to the campaign’s efficacy; customer feedback turned overwhelmingly positive, eclipsing previous benchmarks with a spike in trainee engagement of 33%. Our course completion rates also surged by 15%."

These case studies demonstrate how customer insights not only help in understanding customers more deeply but also how that understanding translates to a real impact on multiple KPI metrics within a marketing campaign.

Customer insights infographic

How usability testing can help you understand customers

You may have noticed a common theme in the case studies above (other than positive results) – each team generated customer insights using usability testing.

Using established research methods and tools is a powerful way to gain customer insights. Why?

  • There's less guesswork involved – your research can tell you exactly where you need to focus your efforts.

  • You can repeat tests – using established tools and frameworks means you have repeatable research to compare performance and insights.

  • Even the most basic tests can yield meaningful results – if you don't have much experience in UX research or interpreting the results, there are plenty of research guides available.

Usability testing methods for customer insights

So, what usability testing methods can marketers use to gather customer insights, both for short-term campaign planning and longer-term goals? There are plenty of methods to choose from, such as:

However, the first question you'll want to ask yourself is whether you want to do moderated or unmoderated research, or a mix of both.

Moderated usability testing refers to research that involves an active, live moderator (who is usually the research project lead or assistant), whereas unmoderated usability testing is less hands-on and usually involves a pre-made test that participants can complete at their own pace.

While many usability tests can be either moderated or unmoderated, interviews (individual or group-based) are one of the only user research methods that lean mostly toward moderated. It's possible to have unmoderated interviews (e.g. getting video responses to a set of fixed questions), but it's generally best to conduct interviews live.

The next question you'll want to ask yourself is if you want to conduct your research in person or remotely. Similarly to the previous question, you can do many usability tests either in-person or remotely, but some tests suit one or the other better.

For example, you're unlikely to get any greater insights from card sorting tests or first click tests when doing them in person. Therefore, doing this type of test remotely would save time and resources (as well as make it more scalable for a larger sample size).

However, the question you're probably most interested in answering is which tests are best for particular marketing objectives. Here's a handy graphic that'll help you figure out what tests you'll want to use to achieve some common objectives:

Customer insights in marketing

How to use customer experience insights

Customer insights on their own aren't going to tell you exactly what you need to do – they help you identify issues and opportunities, but they don't give you a roadmap for moving forward.

Just like the folks in our case studies above, you can use customer insights to optimize parts of your website or product/features and tailor your marketing communications accordingly.

For example, if interviews with your customers reveals that they often spend time comparing your product to a particular competitor (or competitors), you can create content that does the research for them – a feature comparison list or infographic. You can then promote this content in whichever marketing channel your customers would find most relevant.

Like Diana's strategy for Stallion Express, you can also use customer insights from preference tests to help redesign aspects of your customer journey (e.g. the checkout). We have a preference test template you can use and modify to run a test like this.

One of the most important parts of all of this is to build a culture of action within your business – customer insights are no good if all they do is sit in a folder somewhere, gathering digital dust.

Create a process or framework of operation, such as continuous product discovery, in which your team regularly gathers customer insights and uses them to generate business ideas ready for development.

Your go-to user research platform

The best teams use Lyssna so they can deeply understand their audience and move in the right direction — faster.

Your partner for CX insights

Conducting tests, analyzing results, and referring to previous tests for comparison can get a little overwhelming and disorganized.

However, Lyssna offers a variety of usability testing tools on a single, easy-to-use platform – helping you bring all of your customer insights into one place as a source of truth for your UX research.

With usability testing tools from Lyssna, you can start generating valuable customer insights to supercharge your marketing campaigns – sign up, set up a test, and get results fast.


Alexander Boswell is the Founder/Director of SaaSOCIATE, a B2B SaaS, MarTech and eCommerce Content Marketing Service and a Business PhD candidate. When he’s not writing, he’s playing baseball and D&D.

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