Does it sometimes feel like you and your team are running in circles with your marketing? You’re doing great work but not seeing the results you expected? It’s almost always the result of one fundamental piece that’s missing.
Last year, I found myself stuck in the middle of a corn maze. I was lost, confused and disoriented. It was nearly impossible to find my way out and it took countless wrong turns and endless frustration.
Because I didn’t have a map, I couldn’t see which turns were getting me closer to the exit and which were leading me astray. I lacked perspective, and I had no insights about the moves I was making.
If I had a map of the maze or an aerial picture of it, navigating it would be exponentially easier. If I knew what steps would get me where I wanted to go, navigating the maze be simpler and faster. And it would be less stressful and a lot less exhausting.
Marketing is a maze and you need a map. That map is insights.
Insights give you perspective. They show you what works and what doesn’t. They map out the steps you need to take to get to where you want to go.
If you’re feeling lost or confused and if your marketing doesn’t seem to be getting you to your destination — you just need the right insights.
What are insights, anyway?
“Insights” is one of those funny marketing buzzwords that gets tossed around, yet no one really knows what it actually means.
Let’s fix that. Here’s my definition:
They’re the bumpers on the bowling alley that keep you moving forward and prevent you from falling into the gutter.
An industry benchmark, anecdotal evidence or industry expertise are not insights. Insights come from:
- The preferences and behaviors of your best customers.
- The conversations your support staff has daily.
- The meetings your sales team has with prospects.
- The experiments that your team runs every month.
When you see and hear what works and have evidence to support it, you can form a perspective, a pattern or a process. Doing X leads to Y. That’s an insight.
Insights could be as simple as a specific format of image that leads to higher conversion rates. Or a journey that captures more high-quality leads than normal. And in many cases, insights are about the emotional aspects that drive customer behavior, including the “magic words” that make customers’ eyes light up.
They’re unique to your business and your customers. You can’t borrow them or steal them from your competition. (So stop trying.) You also can’t sit around and think them up from thin air. You need to take action, engage with your customers, listen and pay attention to create insights.
The power of insights
Executing without the right insights is like running around a maze without tracking where you’ve been. You’ll waste time and energy and repeat your mistakes ad nauseam. Most companies waste their time, effort and budget because they aren’t operating with enough — or the right — insights.
With the right insights, you can effortlessly outperform your competition, even if they’re bigger than you and have more money to spend.
Let that sink in for a moment. If you have a small team or a tight budget, insights are even more important to the success of your marketing.
Simply put, insights are the main competitive advantage any marketing organization can have.
Why are insights so important? Because insights = outcomes. The more insights you have, the better your outcomes will be. No insights = no outcomes. Big insights = big outcomes.
Imagine playing poker where everyone else’s cards were face up. It would be pretty easy to know how to maximize your chances of winning, right?
That’s what having powerful insights is all about. The more you know and understand, the better decisions you can make and the better outcomes you can create. But it’s not easy to find and capture insights. It takes effort and intentionality.
You need to approach your marketing to figure out what works and looking for the patterns you can extract and translate into actionable insights.
The more time and effort you invest in gaining insights, the less time and effort you need to invest in brute forcing your marketing to deliver.
And time is a big factor because insights decay over time. What worked last year doesn’t work this year. What works today won’t work forever.
Gaining insights and applying them is an ongoing need that every marketer must be focused on.
What insights do you need?
Here’s what every marketing team should be asking themselves:
What insights do we need? And how will we get them?
If you make that your quest, you’ll find that exceeding your goals and obliterating your targets becomes simple.
Marketers face an onslaught of distractions and demands, but we must remain focused on gaining the leverage to drive transformational results. And once you start getting valuable insights, decide how, where and when you will apply them.
Every campaign, creative asset and piece of copy should be informed by the collection of insights you’ve acquired. And each of these should, in turn, lead to more insights.
Collect, compile and collate your insights into an “insights library” — a shared place that everyone internally can consume, comment on and contribute to.
When your marketing team and your organization are focused on insights, you can guarantee the success of your marketing.
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