Are Insights Cheap Commodities? You Bet!

Thinking MonkeyAn insightful friend described a growing challenge with insights in the marketing services industry. He suggested I probe the issue, so here goes…

True marketing insights have always been valued at a premium. With an explosion of raw marketing data (noise) and growing competitive pressures, the value of insights has rightly increased.

The challenge now is that everyone claims they deliver insights: ad agencies; publishers; research companies; and seemingly every ad-tech company in Terry Kawaja’s LUMAscapes.

In many cases, these various players really do deliver valuable insights. Regardless, the barrier to make the claim is low. When many people claim something that was once special, the perceived specialness decreases.

In fact, what people call insights often really aren’t. In many cases they are interesting, shallow observations or loosely understood correlations — arguably, cheap commodities, not really insights. The term insight has moved closer to cliche, with expectations lowering, and impact diluting.

That’s why if your company is in the “insights business,” you may be having an increasingly hard time differentiating or positioning your delivery as premium.

So what should you do? True insights are no less valuable. If your company really does deliver deep understanding of marketing problems and methods to solve them, then you must boldly describe that in a unique and specific way.

You may be better off describing yourself as being in the “epiphanies business,” the “ahas business” or the “answers business.”

This article also ran in MediaPost.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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