How To Apply Insights To Improve Customer Engagement

Arijit Dutta
5 min readNov 12, 2021

Imagine you are in a jungle and you have no previous knowledge of tigers. When a tiger approaches, you are more likely to admire its boldly striped golden coats and lithesome, strong body — the information. You will not realize how dangerous tigers can be until it is too late. In the same scenario, if you knew that a tiger could kill humans and that it is a deep-forest predator, then you would have fled towards the locality to save your life. The reason is that we can instinctively recognize patterns based on the insights we already have. Pattern seeking is hard-wired into our genes because our survival depends on it.

It is interesting how we strive to make sense of patterns because chaos terrifies us. Whenever we see a new pattern, we try to predict its outcome so that it won’t hurt us in the future. In the same way, in our discussions with customers, only data and information are of no value unless we can provide insight and create patterns.

Probably at this point, you’re thinking, “Okay, I’ve got an insight to share.” But wait, we must also recognize that we need to deliver ‘new’ insights to keep the discussion engaging. Because when we see a familiar pattern, we discount it as common sense. Sharing similar insights is repetitive and boring for customers. Imagine you’re watching a television series, each episode featuring the same characters wearing different clothes to recount the same story. How would that feel?

In delivering insights, we cannot be too radical either. We shouldn’t shock customers by challenging their thought patterns. A good insight should align with the customer’s thought patterns to provide value by replacing them with a new and more effective one. That’s the Aha experience.

Each customer interaction is a buying or retention journey. Be it a formal sales pitch, weekly touchpoints, or the conversion journey on your website, in their subconscious, customers pick signals to complete their thought patterns.

We should reframe their thinking so they can see the value of our products and services. If we fail to reframe the customer’s thinking, our only option is to follow their thought patterns. It can lead to unfortunate situations like expectation mismatch, discounting in sales, and even customer churn. Insight selling is a clever way to reorganize what a customer is thinking. It appeals to our primal desire to look for patterns.

Now that we know what insight is, let’s look at how to discover and create it. Here are some ways to become more insight-driven:

Experience From the Past

This method involves taking lessons from the past and applying them to the present. An understanding of how past success can help ensure future success.

An example is the analysis of seasonal promotions. The seasonal behavior of customers can be predicted to an extent. Examining the results of last year’s seasonal promotions is an important step when developing a new one. Retailers can gain a better understanding of how to merchandise specific products when they delve deeper into which products sold best and on which days. Additionally, analyzing sales data from the previous years can be useful to identify any unexpected sales increases. The insights may point to undiscovered seasonal opportunities that can then be incorporated into the next promotion calendar.

Combining Boxes

Sometimes it is hard to think outside the box, but you can always combine boxes to generate new insights. Often you don’t have to be original. As we live in an age of information, you can find inspirations from different sources, put them together for success.

For example, you can analyze your competitors’ advertising strategy. Competitive analyses can give you valuable insight into what works and does not work in your market. Look at the ads your competitors run. Examine their headlines and descriptions to find out how they are positioning themselves. Determine which landing pages are driving their ad traffic. You can click on the ads to get an idea of their campaign goals by looking at the CTAs on their landing pages.

Go to the Gemba

Understanding the needs and expectations of customers often requires that you get closer to them. You gain incredible insight from observing the experience they are having firsthand. The principle behind this approach is the same as one of the 14 principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS) — “Go to the Gemba and observe.”

A good example of this is usability testing. Many retailers use A/B testing (also called split testing) and first-click testing to understand user behavior. A/B testing will help you learn what grabs the attention of your customers and what doesn’t. Average visitors evaluate a landing page and decide the next step in just 0.05 seconds. It is relatively simple, and inexpensive to design and execute A/B tests. The tests are most useful for evaluating discrete, individual elements. For e-commerce sites, A/B testing can be used to determine customer preferences regarding color schemes, headlines, and promotional offers.

First-Mover Advantage

Keeping up with industry trends is essential for businesses. The first-mover advantage is created when new changes or improvements are introduced. Businesses must invest time and upgrade constantly to stay competitive and get new customers.

An example of this is Augmented Reality. Today, many brands use AR technology to improve customer experiences and boost sales. In September 2017, IKEA was the first retail brand to offer AR enabled shopping through their app, IKEA Place. The first-mover advantage resulted in 13 million downloads for the app in the first six months. The IKEA Place app lets users take a picture of a room to try IKEA’s furniture there. It is possible to move the furniture around to see how different it looks from different angles. Augmented reality helps customers understand what they’re buying, makes it easier to meet expectations, and increases satisfaction after purchasing.

For you to deliver insights, you need to think and process information. As a insight seller, you should be able to sell value and differentiate your products by reframing customers’ thinking. Your insights should not be overly bold or direct. Customers may feel attacked, become defensive, and then shut down. Telling a story about another customer is non-confrontational, and can help avoid conflicts. Thus, storytelling is a crucial part of insight selling. As a customer listens to the story of a previous buyer, they recognize their broken pattern. At that point, a successful insight seller offers the customer their new and improved pattern to help fix the broken piece.

Originally published at



Arijit Dutta

Data-driven digital media marketer and brand communication strategist. Experienced in lead generation, paid media promotion and SaaS product management.