We have been hearing about Big Data, data this, and data that for years. But data is nothing more than units of information, most often numeric, that are collected through observation. More technically put, data is either qualitative or quantitative, that measures sets of variables about one or more persons or objects.
Now that just sounds boring, dry, and technical. What about data sounds even remotely human. We are not computers and we are not programmable robots. So what is it that moves us forward, keeps us engaged, or ushers in the next big trends?
Well that is where insights take flight. Data is not synonyms with insights, but some insights can be gleaned from data. Insights bring the human experience into the world of innovation. Its innovation which has been critical to advancing people’s relationships and experience, with their environment, each other, as well as brands and their products.
A brand and their products only exist if they are based upon one or more measured behaviors that you are either working to support, advance, or change. For instance just think of all the people who flock to dairy free, non GMO, no pesticide, grass fed, meat free, sugar free.... The list goes on and on. But those things did not exist from data alone, because insights are built upon human needs and preferences, which leads to ideas that create value in people's lives.
The best insights are gained from watching how customers interact with products in everyday life, listening to their true unbiased feedback, and learning from those behaviors and enacting change aka innovation. The best innovation solves a common problem, provides a more efficient way of doing something, or brings simplicity and unity to an unspoken gap in a process or interaction. Simply put, “the future does not fit in the containers of the past” - Rishad Tobaccowala
Consumer insights provide a business with the opportunity to better personalize and tailor products to the needs, wants, and demands of their customers. Building trust, loyalty, and ultimately selling more products, or discontinuing underperforming ones.
For example: An online seller ELOQUII used customer insight and retail analytics to uncover a new market. ELOQUII discovered this market by uncovering a trend in product returns. Finding that customers were ordering multiple white dresses and returning some of their order. Using this data, ELOQUII found that consumers were actually shopping for wedding dresses. It was then that a matrimonial audience and marketing segment was born for them. Their marketing team leveraged this information and started actively targeting promotions and ads to this new demographic.
Insights tell a story and people love stories. Stories invoke emotions, and emotions are powerful in decision making. Its insights that give understanding of the why, and build the emotional connection with consumers and brands.