Human Insights: Uncovering the Simply Complex

Author: Aaron Miller
Posted: May 17, 2019

The word strategy can mean a plethora of different things when used in the context of marketing. In turn, the job description of a Strategist can also be wide reaching. No matter the specific definition someone opts for, it's essentially an ability to uncover, present and successfully leverage a human insight.


So, what is the all too elusive "insight?" According to Think with Google, it is a fundamental truth that is motivating behaviors. It is often seen in the form of something we all understand but rarely discuss. Another way to think of it is a universal or obvious human truth.

Uncovering the Nugget of Gold 

The conventional route to finding the information we need about our target audience is to do research within the channels we have always been encouraged to use. We have the classic Google searches, primary research like focus groups and surveys, and secondary research like databases. All of these are completely valid routes to take to successfully uncover valuable insights. But what if we took more of an “unconventional” approach?

There are two sources that are teeming with human insight: memes and comedians. If you think about the content each delivers, you realize they aim to bring out an idea that people rarely discuss but everyone understands. In other words, they use human insight to engage their audience. The only difference between how memes and comedians accomplish this versus marketers is that they always use it within the guise of humor, and we can use it in the context of any human emotion

Game of Thrones memesource

It's Not About "What" but "Why"

Insights come in all shapes and sizes and can be effective in many forms. However, an insight is most valuable when you are answering “why?” (insight) instead of “what?” (observation). 


What?: People spend hours on end watching live sports.

Why?: It is one of the few truly spontaneous things we have in life. A split second can change everything.

What?: When there is leftover pizza, no one wants to take it home.

Why?: A triangle slice, made into a circle pie, put into a square box is an equation that doesn’t pan out. Our fridges are full enough. Trying to stuff in a box full of pizza or taking the time to move it to different containers just isn’t worth it.

Often times, observations can feel like an insight and every once in a while, can be used as one. But the entirety of an insight rests in answering "why?"

Pizza box memesource

Where Are Insights the Most Useful? 

After you come up with a brilliant insight, there are two internal teams that tend to find it most useful. Your creative team and your media team.

It gives creatives a starting point for their thinking and an emotional touch point on how to connect with the consumer. Is it possible for them to create something without a human insight? Absolutely. Will it be effective? It is possible, but not as likely. A well written insight will provide inspiration to your creatives and make their product infinitely more effective when it comes to resonating with your audience.

It also gives the media team some direction on where to place ads. It lifts the veil a bit on what the motivations are of your audience and why they think the way they do.

So, before you dive into your next big campaign, take a step back for a second. Gather all of that research you have done about your audience and find that hard-hitting human insight that will change the landscape of everything you are doing. Because if you can connect with your audience through a message that will strike them at the core, you can change the world.

Read more about data-driven marketing

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