Marketing Insights Adds Value by Confirming Experience-based Truths With Data

Marketing Insights Adds Value by Confirming Experience-based Truths With Data
Photo by Josh Riemer / Unsplash

Insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something. Working on insight to solve a pain point or opportunity for a consumer is what marketers do when they are most impactful. That’s why the marketing insight function is as old as marketing, if not even older.

But times are changing; the role of the insights functions (or research) transforms at the positive pressure of widely available data and improved analytics. Soon the name of the function could change, and the reporting line in the organization can adapt, but the core of understanding the consumer deeply will stay.

I firmly believe that in a decade the insights function will have a different name, and will evolve past marketing, still adding value through experience-fueled truths about people confirmed by data.

I started my marketing research career ten years ago when Laurent Larguinat gave me a lucky card to transform how Mars looks at quantitative research for advertising effectiveness. I was not the typical market researcher – trained in the trenches of Ipsos or Nielsen, but in contrast, most of my colleagues were. My marketing research starting point was zero, and I had to catch up fast. I missed the prior experiences that so many of my colleagues had.

Prior experiences are fundamental to a market researcher’s success story. Yes, technologies change, more data sources are available, and machine processing power makes AI a friend of our job, but the fundamentals of how people think are more stable than one might think. It’s a social science after all.

Your past experiences generate the consumer truths you are searching for and constantly trying to prove right with data. These are the replicable golden nuggets about your consumers. Data is here to help, but more data doesn’t always do so. Technology is here to inspire new ways of getting to that nugget, but neither is the nugget. Experience-based truths are.

In a decade from now, while the accountability of the insight will stay with the researcher, the scope of our roles will move beyond marketing, enabled by automation and deeper truths to discover. With more data coming towards us, past experiences and the replicable hypothesis will gain more relevance. That’s why I am confident the marketing research function will have a glorious future.

My bet from ten years ago, to build a consumer-knowledge career, sounds even better today.