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Why Insights Are Solid Gold

At this year’s KCDMA Marketing Symposium, attendees were given the opportunity to view a different side of the marketing industry in a light shined by some of the field’s brightest bulbs. From discovering how to build appropriate buyer personas to best practices for landing pages and the power of empathy, there were “aha” moments to be had throughout the event’s entirety.

During a breakout session with the University of Kansas’ Angie Hendershot, a conversation about the value of insights in marketing was brought forth that offered paths and inspiration for understanding, forming and utilizing these golden marketing eggs.

Hendershot began the discussion over insights by describing the difficulty of marketing to individuals who are, simply, not you. People are interested in things that relate to them. We laugh at stories about comical situations we’ve lived through and we empathize with the plight of others where we can find shared experience.

This is where the connection between insights and marketing starts making sense. This is where we can begin to understand the necessity of context when representing a brand or other client. In making a case for insights in marketing, Hendershot offered a few points to made toward their validity:

  • Insights help anticipate market needs
  • Insights aid in delivering on brand value propositions
  • They are PROVEN to be financially successful

As the conversation continued, the audience began to have one of those previously mentioned “aha” moments. Insights aren’t just facts and data. They aren’t simply demographics and observations. Insights are psychological and associated behavioral tools for providing clues to motivation, desire and need.

Hendershot continued by explaining how an insight can solve the problem of a “tension that no one is addressing or, willingly, admits”. She provided the example of a no-mess product line by Crayola, which satisfied the unmet desire of parents who were tired of cleaning up the disasters of arts and crafts time with their children, but they didn’t want to take that time away and limit their child’s creativity.

Next, we were given some examples of how to find these elusive insights. As it turns out, they aren’t hiding in the basement or on some distant planet inhabited entirely by ducks. Nope, insights are discovered by watching and taking part in the use of products, services and solutions. Her suggested techniques included:

  • Consumer Observations
  • Spend a “Day-In-The-Life” of a consumer
  • Netnography
  • Ride alongs and call center sit-ins

Yes, insights can be gained via some of the simplest actions a human can complete. Watching, participating and listening. Watch consumers use your products and look for the ignored and unmet gaps between their approval and disapproval.

Learn by doing. How are our products used? Shop the present field of competitor products and determine where your dissatisfaction or approval is evident. Search the web for blogs, reviews and other chatter about your products. Look for patterns of requests, problems and points of dissatisfaction with your products by listening to actual complaints.

The discussion continued, as time for the session was running out, with audience members intensely scribbling down as many notes and suggestions as they could. With a new outlook on the value of information and consumer research, Hendershot left the audience with a renewed desire to identify new opportunities and to discover the missing and unmet needs of the consumer.

After graduating from the University of Missouri – Kansas City with degrees in Sociology and Anthropology, I enlisted in the United States Navy to see the world and gain life experience that a classroom couldn’t offer. Upon completion of my contract as an engineer, I began the pursuit of my scholastic passion for writing by enrolling in a Master of Arts program in Communication and by working in field-related internship programs to reintroduce myself to the industry that I’d been apart from while serving. When I’m not at work, I like to continue my role as a student of life by engaging in philanthropic endeavors with Kansas City area non-profit groups and by serving as the Co-Chairman of the KC IABC Young Professionals Organization.