Springsight or thinsight?

Mark Simmonds
Insight and Idea Development

Innovation without insight is failure. The Apple iPhone, Tesco, Nintendo Wii, Innocent, Jamie Oliver, X Factor are all winners because they are firmly rooted in customer insight. A large number of international brand-driven companies understand its importance and have undertaken programmes to upskill their marketers. However, participants on workshops that I run often confront me with the slightly sobering question: 'I know that insight is really important, but how do I know when I have found one'!?

A typical insight definition generally contains two core elements. For example, 'A penetrating discovery about underlying needs or motivations that creates opportunities for growth'. The first element refers to the customer, the second to the way in which this might usefully be exploited by the business. The sequence is also important. Marketers are encouraged to develop ideas from customer needs, not the other way round.