Twitter's Controversial Algorithm Changes: What They Mean for Your BusinessTwitter Vs. Facebook: Which One Is Better for Promoting Your Brand?3 Free Twitter Tools PR Pros Can't Live WithoutSocially Stephanie: Social Media for the Automotive Industry
Technology & Data
New IBM Study Reveals 3 Key Characteristics of the Most Successful CompaniesTalking Strategy and Data with Shannon Lee of Precision StrategiesHarnessing Mobile Users: The Power of Big Data in Social AppsMinority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering
- Tech & Innovation
- marketing automation
- Social Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Recap from the First-Ever Employee Advocacy SummitFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Facts vs. Insights: How To Know You Have Truly Profound Customer Insights
Posted on March 25th 2014
The edge. When you have it, it is powerful. It is what many B2B organizations are seeking today. What is sought is an edge over competitors, which translates into more wins. How to get the edge is what perplexes many marketing and sales leaders today in B2B organizations.
Gaining an edge usually involves uncovering a level of customer insights, which are so profound; it endears you to customers like no other competitor can. The question many ask when helping marketing leaders recently is – how do we know we truly have profound insights?
The Difference From Facts Matters
Where many B2B organizations are struggling is in knowing the difference between finding facts and what truly represents profound insights. It is a difference, which matters greatly. Buying attributes, experiences, and behaviors are undergoing their biggest upheavals in decades. Making the need for profound insights more important than ever before.
When it comes to allocating resources, the difference can be huge. What marketing and sales leaders need to avoid is duplicating use of resources on finding facts alone. The challenge here, however, is there is much confusion on what represents facts and what represents profound insights.
Buyer Insights Tell The Future
Understanding how buyers will make decisions in the future is a key aspect of buyer and customer insights. Having insights into how future decisions will affect attitudes, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors can guide the direction of an organization’s own future strategies. Thus, we have one of the main attributes of customer insights being defined as future-oriented.
This is a very important principle. Many B2B organizations are engaged in finding facts about their buyer’s current or past processes. Mainly, gathering facts on what buyers are doing now. Where duplicity is occurring is when you have marketing and sales engaged in finding facts – and not talking to each other. For example:
A B2B organization I helped adopted a specific sales methodology a few years ago. Part of this consultative methodology was aimed at gathering sales intelligence data on their buyer’s buying criteria, key factors of success, pain points, buying process, and strategic initiatives. At a different time, their global marketing team undertook an effort on finding similar facts, which existed unbeknownst to them in sales. Duplicating spending of resources towards finding facts and not true buyer insights. In the end, both marketing and sales had an exercise in finding facts as well as buyer profiling, which are helpful but offer neither truly profound insights nor true buyer personas.
A Profound Buyer Insight
Within the context of insights being defined as future oriented, a B2B organization can gain an edge when it is able to discover deep and revealing insights, which helps them to shape their brand, marketing, sales, and product strategies in ways, which are truly meaningful to its’ customers. What makes a true profound buyer insight? Here is how I have answered this question for the past fifteen years or more:
A buyer insight is the discovery of a profound truth associated with an unarticulated and no-so-obvious set of behaviors and attitudes, which illuminate the why behind buying decisions and behaviors.
In most cases, profound insights transition from the not-so-obvious to obvious when they have qualitative research lenses shined on them. The skilled and experienced qualitative researcher pulls together patterns of insights on a canvas to paint the story of buyers.
What follows is a comparison between finding facts and uncovering profound insights:
In this comparison, evident is finding facts deals with conventional thinking on roles, functions, processes, and in general on what buyers can say they do. Profound insights go beyond this extensively and shed light on future behaviors and choices not easily articulated by buyers. Uncovering the “why” takes skilled deep diving.
A base of profound insights can help an organization change its’ course of direction in a positive way. Guiding renewed positioning of strategies related to brand, communications, and products, which helps them distinguish themselves in the marketplace. And, give them the edge over competitors. For example:
A Fortune 500 firm I helped produced high quality video technologies used in sophisticated situations such as homeland security. Much of their positioning and communications focused on the quality behind the technology. Marketing and sales executing campaigns focused on demonstrating superior quality. At some point, sales stagnated for this firm. Undertaking buyer insights research to get a handle on what was happening in the marketplace, they uncovered a profound insight. In certain OEM situations, while high quality was a basic buying “criteria” expectation, their technologies were viewed as “accelerators” in product development and engineering efforts. Significantly reducing development time and making the build vs. buy decision economical. This particular division shifted positioning to representing themselves as accelerators, which meant something to potential buyers. Boosting sales with OEM’s and uncovering a new growth trajectory.
Getting The Edge
The approach an organization takes in deeply understanding its’ potential buyers and existing customers makes a big difference. It has to take care to not duplicate resources expended on the basic profiling of buyers. Instead, as in the example just mentioned, companies can focus on finding true insights with game-changing potential.
The ability to create insights-based and actionable strategies is helped when aligned with profound insights in the comparison chart above.