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Good vs. Great: How to Uncover & Identify Truly Great Insights

Good and BetterIdentifying a  great insight is every marketer's dream. However, do we really understand what a true insight is versus simply a finding? And, do we understand how to go about identifying them? I'm hoping to shed some light on this very important topic.

Let's start by asking the question 'what is a great insight and how is that different than a finding'?

Through experience, my observation has been that great insights reveal a deep discovery about the consumer that can be leveraged to position a brand or new product in a differentiating and meaningful way. Great insights go beyond what consumers say they do and even go beyond their current behaviors and choices. Instead, great insights impact future choices, attitudes, and behaviors.  A great insight is unexpected yet obvious too.

Findings & Insights:  A Comparison

FindingInsights
A consumer articulated behavior (functional) Captures an unarticulated truth regarding the 'whys' behind the behavior (emotional)
What consumers are doing now Affects behavior in the future
Factual information Applies knowledge to facts
Interesting and informative Informative and actionable

Here are a few examples of what I consider to be 'game-changing' insights that really drove business growth and leadership success.

Tom's Shoes:  The Insight Behind the Cause

Tom's shoes was founded on the premise that one pair of shoes will be donated to a child in need for every pair bought. Given its unique benevolent premise, the company was perplexed when sales stagnated very early in the brand's life cycle. To restore the company to growth, the team conducted a core follower assessment to understand their zealot's needs and wants as well as to understand why they are so passionate about the brand.  They identified 'Benevolent Believers' (guys and girls 18-34 who have a conscious and want to do good in the world) as their core target based on this assessment. With this target in mind, they reviewed the current strategy and determined that Tom's was really positioning itself as a fashion alternative versus a movement to save lives. Shifting the core insight from 'a shoe company with a cause' to 'a cause that starts with a shoe company' and ensuring that all marketing communications leveraged this insight was credited with being the key change driving their huge success.

Weight Watchers:  Fear of Failure, Lifestyle versus Diet, and SUPPORT

Weight Watchers is another great example of a brand that leverages a key insight to differentiate itself from other 'diet' brands. Specifically, Weight Watchers understands that their target dreads diets in large part because of their fear of failure and therefore humiliation to themselves and others. This fear becomes debilitating and insurmountable. Based on this insight, Weight Watchers promises a life plan not a diet that provides the flexibility of foods through points to help one feel that an indulgence isn't a slip leading to failure. Further, the ongoing group meetings and lifetime membership upon achieving one's goal  provides support and encouragement. It truly is the 'AA' of weight control!

Tips to Identifying Great Insights

While hugely important, uncovering these insight revelations can be challenging. Here are 3 tips to identifying great insights.

  1. Integrate and Aggregate Diverse Information To Look for Commonalities - A great insight is a triangulation of learnings that leverages the research at hand, combined with the experience acquired by a moderating consultant with years of target, category, and cross category experience. It requires someone who has the knowledge base to identify the common thread between disparate pieces of information versus just recording what consumers say.
  2. Go Beyond Words & Observe Consumer Behavior - A great insight requires observing not just asking. There is a human truth that most people either can't say what they feel because they are unaware of their behavior and/or are holding back as a self-preservation tactic. As such, it is key to keenly observe actions and reactions versus just listening to words. Observing can be achieved in a focus group setting, in-home/ethnography, or even through video-taping.
  3. Peel Back Consumer Layers By Going Deeper - Great insights require digging deep and peeling back the layers of what consumers say. Asking the whys (why do you do that, how does that make you feel, how does that affect your life) is required to really understand the emotional motivations behind the functional actions.

These three tips aren't easy. You need a great partner to really make your dreams of a "great insight" a reality. Learn more about the great insights that Insights in Marketing has uncovered for our client partners.

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