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Happy Anniversary: Lessons to Grow By

April 11, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of Insights in Marketing.  It is an occasion that compelled me to pause, and reflect.

My first thought is one of deep appreciation to all of our many partners, Clients and Suppliers, who have helped make us successful.  Without your loyalty and trust, we would not be celebrating our 25th successful year in business.

My second thought was to consider what has been learned that could propel us for the next 25 years…and how it might help build your brand, your business.

There have been many, many lessons, but two truths stand out.

Evolving Your Brand Proposition is Critical to Growth

In the beginning, Insights in Marketing was to be a brand that provided relevant, differentiated value-added benefits.  In our first letter sent to prospective Clients in 1989 we said "Insights in Marketing is a consulting firm offering qualitative moderation with a marketing consultant's insights. Groups are more meaningful because we understand the issues being addressed.  Analyses and recommendations are more insightful because they are drawn from an extensive, relevant background."

In 1989, and for many years to follow, this brand promise generated great growth.  But, then, the market changed dramatically due to the combination of advances in technology and brand teams yearning to take advantage of technology to better understand their consumers.

And, while the core added-value benefit of a consultant's insights still rang true, like a good brand we responded to changing market conditions, and today we learn about consumers in-person, in-homes, in-stores, on-line, digitally, qualitatively, quantitatively… inevitably wherever and however we can reach the desired target in a meaningful manner.

Now, I ask you to think about your brand; is it still as relevant to your consumer as it once was, do you still own the high ground?  The reality is your competitive environment is changing faster than ever before as old and new competitors look to steal share and profits.  Perhaps, like our brand, the core of your proposition is still salient but your products or messaging needs to evolve to remain pertinent.  Be sure to stay current for sustained growth.

Everything You Need to Know About Effective Marketing You Learned in Marketing 101, Almost

Chapter 1 of any good marketing book teaches the reader that consumers have wants and needs, and successful brands offer benefits to meet those wants and needs.  Truly great brands understand their consumers better than the competition and they connect with their target in a way that is more relevant, often times on an emotional level.

The question is, with the reams of data available today and the ever evolving, ever increasing tool box of qualitative and quantitative offerings available, do Clients really understand their consumer? Do they know them well enough to keep their brand current, effectively communicate and relate with their target?

In an attempt to answer this question, we fielded proprietary research that yielded mind blowing results; in spite of all the information available and the myriad of tools brands use today to understand and communicate effectively with their consumers:

With all the knowledge we have on Millennials, Boomers, etc., and all the work done to understand category behavior and attitudes…how is that possible?!! And, in an environment of tighter budgets, what does this suggest about the efficiency of brand spending?

What we learned in Marketing 101 was, and still is true; you do need to know your consumer.  And, we all understand that otherwise the demand to increase the kinds of tools used to identify consumer insights would not have grown.  But, what we didn't learn is how to understand consumers at their core.  The truth is, having a deep understanding of demographic segments whether Millennials, Baby Boomers or Xs or Ys is a great start, but, it is not enough.  Knowing category trends and behavior helps, but, it is not enough.  Understanding attitudes like gatekeeper versus permissive moms is critically important, but it too, is not enough.

We marketers have consistently viewed our consumers through the tinted windows of our category versus truly seeing the world through consumers' eyes; a perspective shaped by their personality and deep rooted values, the human truths that define who they are and what they connect with.

A few brands seem to get it.  Dove is more than a cleaning or beauty brand.  Gatorade is more than a sports drink.  La Quinta is more than a place to stay for a night.  Each effectively taps into something deeper than demographics, behavior and category attitudes…they touch a chord of human truth that transcends.  They have a more complete understanding of what really drives their consumers, they own it and, as a result, they connect with consumers on a higher-order plane.

As Insights in Marketing continues to evolve, we have developed proprietary tools to help brands truly understand and connect with their consumers.  We weave our industry-leading psychological insights (FBI Profiles TM) with traditional research to identify the deeper, often unspoken human motivations that result in impactful marketing opportunities for brands.

A question for you is: how well do you really know your consumer?  Do you know them on a deeper level, one that connects with them in a way that separates you from competitors?  Do you touch an emotional chord, a human truth that is truly motivating for them?  Can you make your brand even more relevant for your target consumers?

Tomorrow

As Insights in Marketing looks forward to our next 25 years we hope to leverage our years of experience for us and for you.  Let us help you unlock the critical human truths that will help build a more powerful brand.

Thank you for 25 great years.  It's a beginning.  Now, let's grow together.

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