No. And Yes.

No, because they were always simple to find, even in the 20th Century.

Just that management jargon had so abused the word, insight, that finding consumer insights have been made complicated. Now, most people can’t recognize a key consumer insight even if it was staring them in the face.

I prefer to think of a key consumer insight as an “obvious emotional truth on which your brand can be based”. Emotional truth is so obvious that others haven’t noticed it. Till you state it, and then everyone agrees that, of course, that’s very true for the brand.

The reason most people don’t find them is they go about finding them the wrong way. They think that if they ask the consumer straight up, the consumer will tell them. When actually consumers tell most researchers what they think the researcher wants to hear.

True ethnographers are rare. They are quite a different breed from most market researchers.


SEE ALSO: 5 questions brands forget to answer


Now don’t get misled by a fancy word. Ethnographers just use their curiosity and common sense. We are all born with those two traits. Then, unfortunately, we get educated. Good ethnographers survive their education and can see patterns that others don’t. Like Sherlock Holmes, they are good at deducing the truth.

Almost anyone can be trained to find strong consumer insights. I use an observational tool I call “The AHA Tree” and have written about it here. There are others who have insight mining techniques that work equally well.

Here’s what most market researchers don’t realize. Consumers don’t speak in consumer insights. So putting what a consumer has said in “quotes” does not make it a consumer insight. Consumer Insights have to be deduced.

And now on to why I said that, yes, in the 21st Century finding consumer insights have become simpler.


SEE ALSO: Are all insights solutions? 


The fancy word for it is ethnography. It means using your powers of curiosity and common sense, over the net. All over the world-wide-web consumers (and prosumers) share their lives with the rest of the world.

You just have to know how to listen and engage them in conversation. Nowadays, it’s even possible to engage with them, face to face, over Skype and Google Hangout. So that you can watch their body language.

Finding Consumer Insights couldn’t be made simpler. What method do you use to find consumer insights in the 21st Century?

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