iStock_000010874645XSmallFeeling like your company is always searching for the one big idea? Are your marketing efforts falling just a little short and you are not sure why?

There are many marketing tactics developed around the “big idea” – the one magic thing that will make customers remember and buy from you. Entire strategies and campaigns are built on the premise that this idea will make your organization memorable. This may work, but will typically yield only short term results. The real magic happens when your organization invests time and energy in learning about customer centric insights.

Insights provide a new perspective – a point of view about a brand, a product or a target audience that has never been used before – at least not from a marketing perspective. Think about your brand. Is it relevant to the customer? Insights add originality and relevance to your marketing strategy because they come from the customer perspective (where real “big ideas” are originated).

Why use customer-centric insights? Well, first they are inspiring. Insights make the familiar look different because they cause a customer to pause and say “Hmm. I’ve never thought about it like that before.”

Gathering insights that provide real information is the trick. Many organizations will conduct surveys but do not always ask the right questions of the right people. Or they do not dig deep enough to uncover the gold nuggets of information that will change the trajectory of marketing, sales, service or development efforts.

Challenge the Norm:  Key insights serve as a starting place for all marketing development.  It is what your creative departments will seek, first and foremost, to render into a dramatic selling idea.  It’s what your sales people will seek in order to catch their customer’s attention.  It’s what new product development will seek in order to come up with that next big idea.

Yet, all insights are not created equal. Every strategic question must be answered with insight. What is the most critical insight to a sale? How do we impact a consumer’s choice to ensure they consider us before automatically ordering a product? What factors do buyers consider when choosing a product or service? Do our customers feel valued?

To develop good insights requires a solid system that ensures feedback from multiple sources. This system also requires that you do not take things at face value. The truth is you do not really know until you ask the right questions of the right people. Some basic factors of a good insights program include:

  • Challenge all the conventions in the market.
  • Talk to consumers, employees, sales people and folks who did not buy from you.
  • Ask the same question in a different way of different people to get the most information.
  • Analyze what they are saying and find out the WHY.

Insights require conversations as well as surveys. Otherwise, it is impossible to get all the information you need. Remember, if you ask an original question, you will get an original answer. Live interaction boosts the question and answer process beyond the basics of the survey (particularly if you utilize a third-party to ensure a more truthful, factual dialog).

Insights will often be in the form of better understanding a target audience. However, they may also uncover a unique feature or benefit of the product or service. There are no limits on the types of insights that can be obtained from a well-executed insights process.

The real secret behind finding the big idea is to create a solid insights program that is customer centric. Once your organization begins to see things from the customer perspective, positive change is bound to happen.

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