Tell me something I don’t know | Advertising

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Over the course of my career working with marketers and agency partners, it’s inevitable that I get asked, “Tell me something I don’t know.” For some, this request can be frustrating or daunting. The truth is, it’s one of my favorite to answer. The ability to share something new about your business, your existing customers or even your prospective customers is one of the ways to earn the title of “strategic partner.” And the key to this is insights.

Similar to “innovation” and “creativity,” the word insights today has become so overused that it’s been commoditized and devalued. Yet do people really know what an insight is? Oxford denes an insight as “the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.” This is a high bar. For our industry, it requires a deep understanding of consumer behavior. Kevin Drew Davis, the chief creative ocer of Wunderman Chicago & Canada, has a simple way to bring it to life: A fact (or data point) is that people tend to feed their pets twice a day. An observation (or information) is that they tend to feed them at breakfast and dinner time. An insight, however, is that people feel guilty eating in front of their pets.


Can’t you just Google this kind of information? Well, just because you can Google something doesn’t mean you’re getting an insight. If we’re going to respond to the request to “tell me something I don’t know,” then we must become obsessed with understanding as many dimensions as possible about consumer behavior. And that starts with data. Not all data is created equal, however “garbage in, garbage out,” as the saying goes. Given that it comes directly from the consumer, rst-party data is vastly more valuable than third-party data, for example. An internet-scale rst-party data set that is unduplicated, real-time and not panel-based is a prerequisite to analyzing the many behavioral dimensions of your audiences.

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