What Makes Great Key Insights?

Perhaps the most commonly sought-after element of market research, the importance of great key insights cannot be overstated. They are the compelling notions that tie everything together, that explore all measured data, combining percentages and verbatims and themes to create a story that you could get lost in. The saying among bookworms, “I couldn’t put it down,” - that’s the emotion one should aspire to deliver with key insights - an emotion so beyond what one could feel from page after page of charts and graphs.

Insights are the why

They explain why something is the way it is and how it came to be.

Insights are not observations. Observations come directly from the information available from the results. Observations are raw and untouched. Insights, in contrast, are developed by interpretations of the observations. Insights should be actionable, supported by data, and should deliver value and texture beyond regurgitation of the data. Insights are developed by making connections, discovering patterns, and uncovering gaps between the way something is and the way it should be.

Key insights first require an understanding of internal opinions on the topic – what are the client’s objectives? What viewpoints already exist? Any current assumptions or bias may influence your understanding of how to frame the presentation of those results. Furthermore, different clients have different preferences when consuming key insights; some may want you to take more of a reach than others. Understanding your audience is essential in making your insights most impactful.

The first step in uncovering great insights from your community is to ask the right questions. The activity and the questions included need to be asked in a way that will facilitate insightful analysis. Frame questions in a way that will unearth astute and strong responses. One of the best ways to support a theory is in the form of validation from a member’s verbatim response. Use thought provoking language in your surveys and discussions to excavate this type of feedback.

The creation of insights should begin even before the activity is launched. After ensuring that questions are being framed properly, begin thinking about what results you expect. Allow different perspectives to feed your hypotheses – for example, do you expect one product to significantly outperform another? Why or why not? Make note of your initial assumptions to refer to as responses begin to flow in.

After the activity has been completed, there are a few things to consider when thinking about key insights, depending on the subject matter:

  • Compare the results to your initial expectations; do the results differ from what you and the client originally anticipated?
  • Is there one group of respondents that answered significantly differently than another? For example, if millennials answered very differently from Gen X and baby boomers, why would that be the case? How can you explain those differences?
  • Are there any open ends that may not show up in top themes, because they weren’t mentioned often, but they provide support and color to the results? If you have a respondent with a strong opinion or a lot of knowledge about a topic, they may help explore something you may have not considered otherwise.
  • Could multiple themes be combined under an umbrella? Individual themes may not shine dramatically, but if you analyze them, you may realize that they’re all related to a single message.
  • When looking at likes/dislikes, what do people who dislike the product say? Is there an opportunity to improve a high performer even more through rectifying a dislike?
  • If comparing A vs. B and A wins, what did people like about B? Could those elements be implemented in A to drive that option to even further success?
  • What concerns are identified? What could be done to alleviate those concerns? More education, increased awareness, a slight adjustment, etc.?
  • Is there an unmet need or potential gap in the category? Is there an opportunity to fill the gap between what’s currently in the market and what consumers want?

Always make sure that you can back up your insights. Be able to cite support for your hypothesis or recommendation. While key insights can have an element of subjectivity, there should always be a strong foundation built by data, topic history, external sources, and member contributions.

My-Take is a greater Boston based insight and marketing technology company that can help your company make smarter decisions and market your products and solutions more effectively based on feedback, and interpretation of that feedback, from powerful online insight communities and panels. If you’d like to see how your company could benefit from exceptional key insights, or if you have general questions about insight communities and how they can help your company deliver more value to your customers, click here to request a free consultation.

Posted by Nicole Gilbody

Nicole was a Senior Community & Insights Manager at My-Take. She managed online advisory communities, allowing brands to make smart connections with consumers. She also maintained daily moderation and administration within communities to continue member engagement and respond to inquiries, keeping with brand voice.