Knowledge is power. It’s an expression that rings true for many. When we know a topic, inside and out, it gives us confidence, energy and a positive disposition.
Now if knowledge is power, then more knowledge must be more power. Sounds simple, right? Let’s stick this notion in our bag and carry it into the workplace.
Now before we go much further here, let’s examine what insights actually are. Looking up insights in the dictionary brings up a few definitions, each generally speaking to a deeper inspection of a truth.
What Do “Business Insights” Mean Exactly?
In the Marketing world I have been entrenched in for awhile now, it is often about illuminating cause and effect. What exactly is it that makes a prospect tick. What keeps them up at night. What moves them through a purchase path. And ultimately, what compels them to buy.
They often stem from qualitative research activities, such as online surveys, research studies, focus groups, and user testing. Sometimes they are uncovered from more quantitative testing, such as A/B and multivariate split testing or analytics data. In reality though, Marketing insights can come from any tactical activity – so long as one periodically pauses and inspects the activity’s performance before moving on to the next thing.
In the digital world, where nearly everything can be measured, insights float like the pollen of Spring. Digital insight spores float everywhere – and are non-allergenic.
They can be as granular as how one specific demographic, perhaps mothers with toddler aged kids in certain household income brackets, have a 50% higher propensity to purchase a particular product than another demographic in the same income bracket. Or it could be that when using a single call to action (button) instead of two stacked on top of each other, 20% more online orders are generated.
These are examples of data-driven insights that, on their own, can be interesting – but not much more than that. On their own means they don’t go anywhere. They don’t fly around in the air like pollen, but are instead bottled up inside the minds of one – or perhaps a few.
Now let’s recall our more the merriers – more knowledge, more power. More minds, more knowledge. Imagine what happens when we bring the simple notion of sharing into the equation. Knowledge grows exponentially!
If 40% of those that purchase this, also look at that, then this is something more than a few should know about. Up sell opportunities await, personalization and campaign messaging can adapt. New bundled offers could be promoted. Each of the actions that ensue from a given insight can have their own contribution to the bottom line. This is precisely why the simple concept of sharing is so important.
If one version of a paid search landing page drives 90% more sales than another version, well, this is a good result. If this insight is not shared with others who were not intimately involved in the test activity that uncovered the result, then it will remain just that – a good result.
The real impact on business value comes from something fairly basic – communications. Understanding this exponential impact that insight sharing has on organizations also reinforces why “team” is also central to the conversation.
And it’s not simply because a team of ten has ten more minds than a team of three. Numbers are important to scaling the impact of knowledge. But it is the sheer act of sharing – something so basic and seemingly mundane – that can be the agent that reinforces the “team” concept.
It’s no secret that organizations of different sizes and distributions deal with a silo effect. Globally dispersed work forces, large organizational structures, political jockeying – whatever the reasons are – silos emerge. And with silos, come data silos. Some groups are using different data than other groups. Some groups don’t know about data other groups have.
In this sense, insight sharing isn’t just about leveraging the powerful multiplier effect of many people acting on the same set of insights – that is powerful. But it’s also the act of sharing information. Sharing data across groups reinforces unity and reminds us all we are one. One organization – not a collection of various groups.
Brandon Gerena, Managing Director at Accenture Interactive says “analytics is shifting from a look-back source of marketing performance research, to an “act-now” flow of actionable insights and triggers that can optimize live experiences.” This reinforces the need for speed in today’s competitive environment. We must have insights and ideas cued up to pivot quickly, and in real-time.
Brandon continues, “What’s required are a few things. First, you need platforms that enable collaboration between teams and that integrate with the rest of your marketing ecosystem. Next, you need centralized audience governance and journey management that spans across prospects and existing customers. Last, you need to consider in-sourcing key capabilities like media attribution, programmatic ad buying and experience optimization. The goal is to provide transparency into marketing investments, increase speed-to-market and improve the customer experience.”
If sharing insights is important, then how to share them effectively is, as well. First, consider bite-sized content nuggets that can be gobbled up with ease and comfort. Part of what makes content more digestible is the size of each chunk. There’s a reason the term “fun size” exists.
Beyond chunk size, the more we can do to minimize the perceived work involved in processing the information, the better. Making insights easy to consume also means a consistent format and presentation of each and every insight. This way, eyes and minds can self-train on how to interpret the insight in rapid fashion.
Start with an insight “one liner” that conveys the gist of the insight – adding some creative flair, wherever possible. Not everyone will have time to go farther – so use this one liner to help guide them, in brief terms, on what the insight is about. Readers can decide quickly whether this is one is for them – or not.
Consistent Insights with Testing & Analytics
A copy block that speaks to the background — this could include a premise or hypothesis of a test or, more generally, how the activity came about.
Speak to results — that can be based on analytics, A/B test data or from the output of qualitative research.
And finally, from the results, clarify the insights — this should translate the results into something actionable about your business. The important “now what?” – should be included either here or as its own discreet “next steps” section. This will help set the stage for action to be taken on the insights. The actions are what make insight sharing important.
Keep it simple. Keep it digestible and aesthetically, easy on the eye. If you are using slides, place the background, results and insights in consistent real estate on each slide. Keep image height and widths generally similar as well.
In sum, share what you know, as a way to make your business grow. Share beyond your daily circle. Break down silos. Reinforce your larger team concept. Turn knowledge into power – power to beat your competition.