The pandemic forced me to rearrange my whole life, from hygiene habits to shopping patterns to family traditions. Everything feels like it has changed, and the numbers show I’m not alone.
Our data shows 84% of people plan to maintain the routines they adopted during the Covid-19 crisis even after the crisis is over. This begs two big questions relevant to marketing. First, as a consumer, how would a brand that’s marketing to me even understand me now? Then, as a marketing professional, I wonder if brands realize that half of their insights are completely null and void in 2020.
Since the dawn of advertising, insights have been the diamonds of our industry—difficult to find and incredibly valuable to own. De Beers said “a diamond is forever,” but brands need to ask about insights and an expiration date that might be moved up in the new normal.
At their core, insights are designed to make sense of human behavior, and human behavior is growing fickle in the face of change. Now more than ever, we need to rethink how we value and evaluate insights. And smart marketers know that not all insights are created equal. We need to define the difference between short-term and long-term insights—and leverage both for sustained success.
Think of it like an investment portfolio. You need some short-term, high-yield investments mixed with some long-term, slow-burn stocks (and a few always precious diamonds) to have a solid plan. So, how do you plan your perfect insights investment portfolio?
Play the short game
I call short-term insights hyperactive with the briefest lifespan. Relative blips on the behavioral radar, hyperactive insights encapsulate human reaction to immediate external stimuli. Shopper insights, pop-culture insights and competitive insights all fall within this category.
Look at online groceries as an example. Online grocery buying has more than tripled as a result of the recent pandemic, and 59% of consumers plan to continue their new shopping habits once quarantine restrictions are over. The data suggests the door has opened, and there is no going back. Online is not just another option but may be the new grocery norm.
The insight suggests a massive shopper shift and one that brands can capitalize on now. Brands that have traditionally been relegated to the bottom shelf are suddenly liberated to capture consumers at eye level in front of their digital screens. However, we don’t rely solely on hyperactive insights because we don’t know what external forces may catapult another change in the near future.
Win the long game
Hypoactive insights have the longest lifespan of 10-plus years. Focused on identifying people’s values, motivations and deep-set personality traits, hypoactive insights pave the way for empathetic understanding.
Consider a recent internal study that uncovered gymgoers’ desire to feel free from judgement and want to practice selfishness when they work out. These feelings suggest exercise is a deeply personal experience, and herein lies the tension—most gyms are designed to be very public places.
The insight carries massive implications for any gym that wants to lean into consumer needs that stem from innate motivations unlikely to change no matter the external environment. A gym may rethink the design of its facilities in response to this hypoactive insight, initializing a redesign and positioning overhaul. Or, a new chain of gyms may position themselves head and shoulders above the traditional gym layout with more privacy and extra bonus points, because we do live in a pandemic.
Long term, they can set a new standard and change the industry.
Master the blended portfolio
Brands need a system to mine both kinds of insights. Hypoactive insights drive a deep emotional connection between brand and consumer and allow the brand to understand people in order to build brand love. Hyperactive insights fuel a brand’s creativity and cultural relevance and empower the brand to innovate quickly.
Audit your balance. What does your insights process look like? Who is extracting the insights for you? Are they categorizing the insight? Are they retiring the insight when it is outdated? An overhaul and a clear process for evaluating your investment could give you a balance of preparation and adaptability.
Insights continue to be the most valuable asset we have for understanding people with empathy. And, empathy drives profit. Remember, 74% of people admit they would spend an average 20% more money on brands they know are truly listening to them and their needs.
Build the balanced portfolio now, and your business can be resilient and nimble.
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