Some insights about insights.


By definition, a “consumer insight” is a belief, value, attitude, or consumer need that has NOT yet been leveraged to sell a product or service. Or in un-blah-blah terms: it’s an untapped emotional trigger. As Marketing 101 has taught us, purchase decisions are based on deeply rooted emotional needs. The truly great brands get this. They understand that in order to strike marketing gold and impact sales immediately, they need to uncover a real consumer insight and meet those unmet emotional needs.

What a consumer insight is:

  • Athletes want to get leaner, fitter, faster, and stronger, but they need a little push to get over the hump. Just do it.
  • People secretly want to escape their responsibility-filled lives every now and then, and be a little naughty. Hey, what happens in Vegas…
  • Men want to talk, eat, sleep, and dream sports 24/7.  (Oh, and drink sports, too, right Arnie?) This is SportsCenter.

What a consumer insight is not:

  • Busy moms 35-49 want to reduce the amount of clutter in their lives. (p.s. besides stating the obvious, isn’t “busy mom” a bit redundant. I mean, what mom isn’t busy? C’mon dad, get with it.)
  • Teen girls are spending more time on their cell phones every day, so we need to do a mobile initiative. (Duh.)
  • Men 21-35 want a beer that’s drinkable?! (I’m afraid you’re going to have to dig a little deeper than that, Bud Light. You too, Checkers—“You gotta eat!”…has gotta go.)

In summary, consider this sweet mathematic-like formula of important-sounding words: Demographics = good. Psychographics = better. And ethnographics = best. Don’t confuse facts for insights. Unless you want your marketing dollars to end up in a tall glass of meaningless blah blah with zero consumer “drinkability.”

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 27 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    This is an interesting topic. I think the word “insight” has turned into a buzzword and everyone uses it to try and sound smart. I think we’ve forgotten that insights are supposed to be ideas that are not immediately clear or apparent to other people, ideas that were created by you based on data. Insights are not just reading out loud what other people wrote.


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