How do we begin each client engagement?

Simple: By defining what is known and unknown about the customer, market, and current situation.

Some organizations have a staggering amount of market intelligence. In others, it’s virtually nonexistent. You’d think the more customer research, the better the insight. Not really. Often, the opposite is true.

Many clients overspend and are overwhelmed by research. Other clients are starved for insight, misinterpret data, and make poor inferences. In any case, it’s vital to assess what is known before gathering new insights.

Think of it this way: Gather. Analyze. Connect the Dots.


3 tips to develop an effective insights-gathering marketing plan:

  1. Start by gathering inputs—research reports, social media tracking, sales force input, and industry studies.
  2. Analyze large data sets using artificial intelligence and other methods to reveal patterns and trends related to consumer behavior.
  3. Interview managers and synthesize the findings. Create an initial fact base, formulate hypotheses, and identify gaps to fill. After all…to connect the dots, you need to have the dots. 

What to Know: Strategic Direction Setting vs. Concept Optimization

With the existing foundation set in place, you can prepare an insights-gathering plan using the below diagram to look closer and think deeper. Some quick takeaways:

Note the differentiation: Where to Play, How to Win

Strategic Direction Setting falls under Where to Play – it’s about segmenting your market to obtain proprietary insight and to identify strategic opportunities. The process is sequential: Understand the situation, segment the market, then confirm strategic opportunity areas.

Concept Optimization is How you Win – it involves conducting a “deep dive” and using concept iteration to meet the needs of the target customer. Here, the process is iterative: Create. Test. Learn.

Many companies set themselves up for failure by collecting insight without considering what is already known, which is one of the fundamental principles of upstream marketing.

Don’t make that mistake…

To learn more about how you can develop a smart insights-gathering plan, we are offering a free download of the second chapter of our popular book, Upstream Marketing. Access it right here.