First Step in Gaining Insight

March 3, 2008
Steve Padgett
Successful Product Manager's Handbook

The goal is to know and understand your customer so well that the product sells itself

The challenge for brand teams these days is to define and shape potential new-business-growth opportunities that will satisfy the full gamut of their customers' needs.

What Do You Know About Your Product?

Some marketers are pointing beyond statistics and the traditional market-research approach to a whole new level of customer understanding. The buzzword for this level is insight, and it is a term you'll likely be hearing more of.

To many marketers, insight-led brand strategy looks like the key to discovering and understanding consumer motivations—which, in turn, can be used to create a profitable competitive advantage for their business and brand.

Unlike market research, insight tends to be more emotional than rational. Why a drug is prescribed and why a patient takes a drug (or not) can be motivated by wider, more psychological reasons than efficacy, tolerability, and price. For instance, a patient may continue to take medication because it makes her feel more in control, or she may stop taking it because it is an unpleasant reminder of her illness.

How can you tell if an insight has value? The goal is to open up as many windows on the customer as possible in order to gain a richer and more varied perspective. A product-marketing approach may include traditional doctor/patient focus groups, in addition to going out in the field and talking to pharmacists, doctors, and patients.

A first step in generating what may well yield surprising insight is to ask yourself the questions below.

Steve Padgett is Insight Director of ConsultComplete. He can be reached at