Croom Lawrence
Senior ­director, customer ­experience group, Merkle

One powerful insight into health innovation is the notion of forgetting. Quantum leaps like electronic medical records (EMR) are as mundane as the electricity surging through our homes, but they are not yet ubiquitous. When EMR reaches the point of backing up everyone’s health data across all sources, the mundane becomes a trusted relationship. Then we can forget about it because when the algorithm identifies insights that are predictive, we can take action. That insight can’t be ignored.

Insights, whether from Big Data or behavioral understanding, are often confused with findings, and even worse, strategies. We have to know the difference to harness the Big Data capabilities covered at a recent MM&M conference in New York, “Turning Big Data into Deep Insights.”

The strongest insights bring understanding and transformation to the relationship, and sometimes disruption. The question is how to spot a great insight. These three tips may help:

1) Understand the definition of an insight. Insights are expressions about our customer that we reveal in communications with them. They are often forgotten truths that are retrospectively self-evident and help awaken the consumer. Our job is to hold these truths sacred, all the while setting the stage to ask for something in return.

2) Identify insights to drive the human expression of the brand. Trusted relationships need two-way dialogue, and brands need authentic and tempered personalities to define their role, behavior, and ultimately the value proposition. Brands deliver their greatest performance when they exhibit human qualities that are differentiated and resonate.

3) Use insights to inform the context and role of the brand relationship. Insights that inform the customer value exchange must be flexible, and while we all believe personalization is a source of value, it’s not necessarily the case with all customers.

Identifying a true insight can better identify and engage valuable customers who are ready (and may need) to act from those who have abandoned the relationship. Being mindful of the vast amounts of data and the need to align to these insights quickly with marketing communications will be the success measurement for enduring brand relationships and health outcomes.