Greater Insight: Is this the most frequently abused term in marketing?

What is the most frequently abused word or term in marketing? There’s some competition. Content, data, ROI and effectiveness can be misused and are frequently misunderstood. However, as MBA’s Alex Cowell and James Devon tell us in this special, ‘insight’ has a great claim to be the most frequently abused term in the industry. It can be both subjective and objective. Get four experts in a room to discuss insight, and you will get four different definitions of what it is and why it matters in marketing.

In a way, that’s a good thing. It means we can never take it for granted and should always revisit any assumptions. It means that the need for a special such as this is as pressing as ever. It also means that any thought piece on the subject should be worth reading. After all, we may disagree on what insight means, but that might not mean that either of us is wrong.

The essays we feature this month showcase a wide range of views, from the power of granularity to the impact of machine insight; but all are worth reading.

Will Goodland at TNS tells us how mobile media, among other things, has reinforced the importance of granularity, as opposed to size for the sake of it. As mentioned, MBA’s Cowell and Devon, show how some of the ‘maybes’ in marketing are being removed by machine insight, while Nick Hague at B2B International makes a compelling case for selling on value – thanks to insight – as opposed to price.

We have also tried to demystify one other area of confusion by talking to a range of specialists, from brands including Transport for London and Reiss, about the true value of social media as a research tool and source of insight. 

As ever, focus is key to making the most out of such a wide-ranging issue for any brand.


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