Making the Leap from Market Research to Insight Part One: The Four Places Insights Hide


Published on

Article 1 of 3 about transforming research into insight. Published Jan 2012 in the Market Research Association's Alert! magazine.

Part 2: Qualitative Data

Part 3: Quantitative Data

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Making the Leap from Market Research to Insight Part One: The Four Places Insights Hide

  1. 1. Alert!Marketing research association January 2012 · Vol. 52 · no. 1The New Gen Pop What’s hisGeneration Y Meets MR demographic,Do Demographics really?Make Us Irrelevant?
  2. 2. Keeping InformedMaking the Leap from Market Research to InsightPart One: The Four Places Insights HideBy Thom PulliamDon’t Mess With Texas. Rarely have so few words communicated so much toso many so effectively.The line was conceived by Tim McClure on the word “litter.” McClure did not like him about his messy room when he was25 years ago when he went out for a walk. the word “litter” because to him it evoked a boy, and four simple, powerful wordsMcClure, a partner at advertising agency images of kittens. As he walked, he struck him like a bolt: Don’t Mess WithGSD&M, was preparing a presentation noticed something that shocked him out the Texas Highway Department of his daze. His own neighborhood was Where did this stroke of genius comefor an anti-litter campaign. McClure strewn with all manner of debris. If this from? Was it just the observation thehad not come up with a slogan for the is not litter, he thought, what is? He then neighborhood was a littered mess? No.presentation. Most of his ideas focused remembered how his mother would scold Was it just a childhood memory? No.28 MRA’s Alert! Magazine – January 2012
  3. 3. Was it just McClure’s knack for lateral campaign for 12 years, with commercials To get to an insight, start with anthinking? No – well, maybe. It was the featuring musicians Willie Nelson, Joe observation derived from one of the fouramalgamation of all three, plus whatever Ely, Lyle Lovett, Marcia Ball, Ian Moore, areas. Something like “many students failmarket research McClure had sifted LeAnn Rimes and Little Joe y Familia; to complete school assigned readings.”through prior to this moment. If we sports stars George Foreman, Mike Scott Observations are easy to come by. Icould step inside McClure’s head at the and Warren Moon; Shamu the whale; and bet you could think of 100 right now.moment of his awakening and work even the Texas Confederate Air Force. To turn observations into insights lookbackward to understand where the slogan (Dromgoole, 2006) beyond the observation and ask, “Whyhatched from, what would we find? An Don’t Mess With Texas is a great is this?” Why do many students not doinsight. A powerful nugget of an idea that example of how an insight is born from their reading? The key is to find the rootarose from McClure’s interpretation of market research. And, for today’s modern cause of the event by laddering downmarket research. His thinking might have marketers, a seemingly infinite amount and always asking why something is thegone a bit like this: Why do people litter? of research is available. Gathering data way it is. In this case, the insight behindLitter is everywhere. When I was young, can be as easy as taking a walk through the observation that students fail toMom told me to pick up the litter in my the neighborhood. Sometimes all it takes complete school readings is that peopleroom. Why is litter everywhere? Why is a mystery shop, a Simmons run, or are afraid of embarrassing themselves bydo we do it? Do we not think we will be results from a Qualtrics survey to attain failing, but it is impossible to fail if youcaught? Do we not see the harm of it? Are information. The challenge is not in the do not participate, thus students will notwe just lazy? Is it complete schoolbecause we do not readings. Now thatcare about publicproperty and the “Where did this stroke of genius come from? we understand what an insightenvironment? Kindof. It is because Was it just the observation the neighborhood is and where they hide, let us delvewhen keepingthe environment was a littered mess? No. Was it just a into what insights at the consumer,clean is everyone’sresponsibility, childhood memory? No. Was it just McClure’s brand, category and competitionthere is nomotivation for knack for lateral thinking? No – well, maybe. level look like.any one person toact, even when It was the amalgamation of all three, plus Consumer Insight Consumerit is your ownneighborhood that whatever market research McClure had sifted insights hide in the behavioris littered. Eureka.There is a human through prior to this moment.” and feelings of people. They areinsight. An insight, which birthed the sources from which to garner data, but in human truths thatDon’t Mess With Texas campaign. making the information you have useful. either are a part of local culture or are For the campaign, GSD&M targeted The value of research is not in number universal. What is the consumer insightmajor litter offenders -males 18 to 24 sets or reams of transcripts. It is in the in the following observation: Why dowho tossed trash out of their pickup implications they hold and our judgment many men like spicy food? Withstandingwindows –and used personalities, music of them. As market researchers and brand the intensity of spicy food is a signand images they would identify with to strategists, we hunt for insights – unique of toughness. Why? It is an area ofposition littering as a personal slight to combinations of information that give competition and esteem. Bingo! That isevery Texan with state pride. The first meaning to the marketplace. How can we the insight.commercial featured blues guitarist Stevie act like Tim McClure and pull insight from Brand InsightRay Vaughan and aired during the Cotton simple observational research? How do Brand insights speak to what is trueBowl on Jan. 1, 1986. Some other early we move beyond collection and analysis about a product, service, or brand. Itcommercials had Johnny Dee and the of qualitative and quantitative data and works best if it is a truly unique featureRocket ‘88s, football stars Randy White make the leap to insight discovery? or benefit of the brand. Although it doesand Ed “Too Tall” Jones, the comedy This is the topic of a three-part series not have to be unique, as long as notroupe Greater Tuna, boxer Mike Williams, that looks at where insights hide and one else is leveraging the same insight.and singer Jerry Jeff Walker, all making how to derive them from qualitative and What is the brand insight for Snickers, astrong pitches for “Don’t Mess With quantitative research. chocolate bar filled with nougat, caramel,Texas.” Where do insights come from? and nuts? First look at the brand truths. A researcher named Dan Syrek literally Insights are based on the analysis and Yes, Snickers is a rich candy bar. Yes,counted litter to check on the campaign’s interpretation of information. Information people consume it quickly. Yes, it hassuccess. The first year, trash on Texas can come from primary or secondary the same ingredients found in onehighways dropped by 29 percent. Within research into the consumer, brand, combination or another in most candyfive years, it was down 72 percent. category or competition. Insights hide in bars. So why would someone pick a GSD&M continued to manage the these four spaces.MRA’s Alert! Magazine – January 2012 29
  4. 4. Snickers over a Milky Way? Snickers has Competition Insight is possible. That insight, the idea ofnuts. And, it does not just have nuts – it is Insights that come from investigating consumers not expecting more frompacked with them. Why is that important? competitive products and services uncover fans because they do not know what isBecause it adds protein and crunchiness meaningful differences that separate a possible, spurred the Dyson company toto a rich, convenient candy bar. Why is brand from the pack. A lucrative insight innovate in a tired space filled with parodythat important? Snickers can really satisfy in this area is an opportunity to flip products. The sameness of the categorysomeone’s hunger. This is Snickers brand the competition on their heads. The was Dyson’s inspiration to figure out ainsight. Dyson Air Multipler is a good example. better way to make a fan. Its competition is the everyday blade- Good marketing is based on insightCategory Insight and the strategy that leverages it.Category insights speak to why a spinning fan. Dyson, a company known for innovation, uncovered an insight within Insight is derived from research intospecific commonality four areas: consumer,exists between a set of company, category, and “Insights that come from investigatingcompetitors. It is useful competition. It is brandin understanding what strategists, researchers, competitive products and services uncoveris expected from certain and marketers’ job togroups of products and unearth these insightsservices. Consider theobservation that major meaningful differences that separate a by using creative interpretation andcasinos display largewater fountains outside brand from the pack. A lucrative insight judgment, which makes the research meaningfultheir doors. Why is this?Is it for entertainment? in this area is an opportunity to flip the in a marketing sense. We do this by activelyNo, people go to showsto be entertained. Is it competition on their heads.” observing the world and research around usfor aesthetic appeal? and continually askingNo, casinos are not in the business of its product’s competitive set and produced a machine that amplifies air without “why”. Next time you are looking forproviding public art. So, what is the insight, remember that an insight is simplypurpose behind it? A water fountain is a blades. It started with the observation that every fan on store shelves works the same an observation waiting to be decoded.great display of resources. Why? It shows Seek to understand the why behind thethat someone came in, captured water way - by moving blades that chop the air. Why is this significant? The technology action, use creative interpretation and youand transformed it into a spectacle. Why is might have your own Don’t Mess Withthis significant? Water fountains symbolize that drives personal fans has not changed since the late 1800’s. Why? Manufacturers Texas eureka moment.great wealth. Here comes the categoryinsight: grand water fountains outside do not see consumer demand for new Thom Pulliam is an independentplant the idea that people become wealthy technology. Why? Because consumers strategic communications professional ininside. do not know that another type of fan Atlanta, GA. 30 MRA’s Alert! Magazine – January 2012