Sunday, December 19, 2010

What is a Consumer Insight, Anyway?

Let me give you my quick definition of a Consumer Insight: 
A statement defining the lens that a person views their situation in life, regarding a specific issue, which incorporates their psychological motives (fears, desires), and points to a potential solution.
Many marketers make the mistake of using observations of what consumers do, what products they use, what their attitudes are toward a category of product and confuse those things with consumer insights.  These things will give you “insight” into product usage and consumer behavior, but they are not consumer insights.  Observations, themselves take a lot of work to find and will allow you to sort, categorize and segment  your consumers. But they are not insights.

Real consumer insights are more fascinating and a bit simpler than all that. They reveal how a consumer thinks about his or her situation. They are fraught with personal anxieties and hopes, they are essentially the underlying paradigm (framework) of self.  They lead to clear behavior and attitudes, but you cannot categorize such a thing.  The good thing for marketers, is that many folks share similar feelings about the world as they see it and are, therefore, fertile ground to position a solution (brand) that would appeal to many.
Here is a short video to explain:

Lets use the following example to help explain the differences between observations and insights:

Observation 1: Bob is trying to lose weight – you may have uncovered this from a simple survey.

Observation 2: He is choosing new foods and signing up for new diet programs – you observed this with your shopper data and on-line tracking of him following healthy brands

Observation 3: He says he wants to lose weight to “stay healthy at his age”.  You observe he is cutting out carbs from his diet and he tells you in focus groups that it is because it is an easy way to give up something.   He may have also “let it slip” that he secretly wants to look better too.

Many marketers stop here, believing they have cracked the consumer insight for their weight loss positioned product.  But they would be missing the Consumer Insight which is actually different than all of the above::
Bob is afraid of losing his youth and his identity – He sees people his age  getting older and has recently observed that he looks (and sometimes feels) like the best years of his life are behind him and will soon end up being irrelevant and falling behind.  However, just like everything good he has succeeded at in his life, he knows he holds the keys to his future and has the power and tools needed to make huge, visible changes through weight loss and exercise.  He can’t stick to any program requiring willpower and doesn’t want to be embarrassed by not succeeding
Imagine the power of having this insight to positioning products to appeal to Bob.

Are you finding real consumer insight?