Insight Mining & Customer profile targeting

Insight Mining & Customer profile targeting. With real, human Insights, the impact is great. Insights affect everything, from your homepage copy to a list of benefits that the target audience needs, and the clarity of your messages. Whole marketing campaigns can go under, simply because …the routine targets the wrong people with stereotypes.

Insight Mining & Customer profile targeting

Let’s be clear in one thing: without real, human, well-thought Insights, you aren’t in a position to think and produce communications for an audience. No matter the channel, the occasion, or the reason why you need this communication.

The only thing you can achieve, without Insights, is to translate your own (most of the times ‘silo-ed’) business thoughts into lengthy, boring and non-relevant outreach pieces. The same goes for websites, e-shops, landing page selling lines, and paid media.

In the last 10 months, we have done quite many Insight Mining and Content creation training workshops to help Marketers and Agencies live-through the trouble of an empty page. More than 2.000 readers clicked the Insights, Content Marketing, Skills form Brand Experiences.

What have we learned from the 158 training participants?

First, people have dire times to think for others and produce communications that are relevant and talks to the heart. Period. They feel more secure to reproduce in visual and copy forms their bias, opinions, and product lengthy benefits. The poor agencies can’t train them on this trait…

Secondly, people automatically ‘jump’ on the creative/content execution, trying to “what if we say this“, looking to resonate with peers, partners and agencies. What do they skip? The burden of thinking about their customer. Where do they go? Why? What do they think? What’s the product experience and perception? Why do they buy these stuff and why specifically they choose Brand X? All this information usually goes to the garbage can, and as one of my Unilever beloved Marketing Director used to say …”garbage-in, garbage-out”!

Marketers and Agencies can end-up with Customer personas-stereotypes

Call it what you like: customer profile, user/customer persona – they are all the Customer. So what it happens when we’re planning Marketing and Communication for a Customer we think we know? Bombardment (mass-media-type) without any real, sustainable, results… No, we don’t learn. We don’t improve the team, the marketing process, the content – nothing!

The issue at hand is far more critical in the online economy. We’ve met sales teams in the digital/online domain that try to read data analytics, but even when they do, they don’t have a really insightful know-how on their Customer. Since there is no face-to-face interaction between the web ‘back-end’ and the shopper, it can be difficult to know why people are interested in a particular product, or motivations for buying it, or even assess how satisfied they are with the product when they purchase it. So, even they, digital ‘gurus’ finally do compromises. We continue this landing page, because of clicks. Because of impressions. Because of clicks. Until the time that there’s no click at all.

Before getting to the Communication Brief

I was talking to a digital agency CEO, one of the fresh and growing ones, who admitted that they don’t get briefs! Sometimes, the Client doesn’t know how to plan for Communications, or simply can’t get it all together in written (30 years of work have proven that writing a brief is tough: you have the whole company and brand desirable outcomes on your shoulder, and you only have one page…).

In other times, the agency account team drafts the brief, spending away their valuable time to serve other customers and develop their service, just not to lose the revenue opportunity. But this CEO who’s acting as a planner, an account manager, and a creative person isn’t developing the Client, the Agency and the Industry standards.

Think about it. Customer profiling, when planning Marketing and Comms, isn’t only the demographics and psychographics. It is an attempt, for a Brand’s shake, to create valid, accessible, measurable archetypes for end-customers, that will help any company make meaningful decisions to improve Product/Service, Marketing, Pricing, Support and Guarantees and of course (on the online world) Customer targeting, conversion and sales.

But all the above belong to the planning phase when thinking Communications. Before writing a Brief. Primarily researching (talking to real customers etc.), and well before you hand over the brief. Why don’t we give time to this? Why don’t we put the effort into this thought-provoking type of work? If we don’t, Customer archetypes (the infamous “Target Audience”) become stereotypes, which can lead to fabricated, boring, even offensive sometimes messaging/content to the real end-customer/audience.

Apple and TBWA wouldn’t have created, otherwise, the series of 66 commercials known commonly as “Mac vs. PC” – see below example:

Apple’s legendary campaign “Mac vs. PC” used various ‘geek’ user insights to build the perception framework that stood true for 3 decades, globally. 

John Lewis’s 2018 Christmas advertising campaign, ‘The Boy & The Piano’, is the story of how one particular gift inspired and influenced the course of a little boy’s life. That little boy is Elton John. One simple insight, on the small things’ dramatic impact on your life, magnified by the script’s creative vehicle to turn back in time. Brilliant!

A personal point of view can be a dangerous luxury when is a substitute for insight and understanding.

Insight Mining can’t be without real data

The first and foremost tactic for getting a clearer picture of your customers is relying on data. No, the Insight Mining isn’t a brainstorming session to impress each other. It’s a whole process of collecting, evaluating, and synthesizing real people’s data.

Web data? Focus group? Online panel participants? Interviews? Asking former product users? Asking haters and competition’s salespeople? No matter the source, it all boils down on avoiding your personal bias to plan for Marketing & Communications. Look through your Customer’s (business) journey.


Again, no, the Marketing Director isn’t an expert on his end-consumer/customer, because he owns the title and is the Brand owner… Proofpoint? The 76% of global Marketers see Content (that ‘fires-back’) as their No1 challenge. Global marketers change agencies every 8 months, on a project by project basis. Is it something they search for (besides victims to campaigns’ failure)?

All data sources help us plan effectively, but above all the Insight mIning process over available data, helps us realize what’s going on with our offering. Website faults (browsing time, abandonment)? Product portfolio (media reported issues, social groups interest)? Skip to a competitor (pricing, offering, service, support)? Lower sales (common issues they face, grievances they have had)? By having more than one source to sketch and confirm common customer behaviour, we can create personas that would actually make sense to your customers if you asked them about it.

Insight Mining going to a new market

Needless to say that this is one of the toughest business, commercial, and marketing strategies, to go into a new market (segment-wise or geographically), where you really need to dig into Insights. Especially when your company is entering a particular market for the first time. Do your lengthy, professional, systematic off-and-online insights’ research. Find the people. Otherwise, you are going to a bad start.

Then, as soon as the business gets the first sales, or service customers, or web traffic it’s time to cross-reference the insights you have with the real (new) data. In this way, you -as a business owner or marketer- can see how your targeting is going and where to improve. Then, the feedback you get might improve significantly your marketing and sales tactics.

Targeting in the online world

The Borrow My Brain friend and expert, Despina Exadaktylou in the Sales funnel series covers extensively the AARRR framework and specifically how important is to know your user profile online.

This is extremely critical for online creators, e-shops and passive-income models, or for large retailers and businesses going online. Watch out the online complexity of humankind. No matter how much detail you add to a semi-fictional idea about a particular kind of customer you should always go in-depth for customer personas. Give them a face, a job, a schedule, go beyond the web data info that is relevant to your sales and see if the actions and behaviours you attribute to them are true.

But in the online branding efforts you make, there are some useful Insight Mining tips to consider:

  • Test and improve: Product, Offering, discounts, landing pages – whatever might prove to bring more customers, all expecting common qualities, values, and approach from your company.
  • Customer reviews: it’s a much-needed input for what you market – from a taverna up to a large online seller the feedback is rejuvenating to the business, model, website, policies and marketing you have in place.
  • Content: from a Consumer (offline) promotion, up to a downloadable/shareable .pdf on your website you measure reactions and behaviour; you actually test the grounds for what you need to improve – use content as a test-pilot before all – later on, Content will be your dialogue ‘vehicle’


On a final note, Insights are about real people who we wish to serve and “solve their problems” with our offering. Mining these people insights -from many sources- it is a great asset to the Company and your Brand. It gives you rational and emotional stimuli to improve and meet the end-user/persona/audience needs across their journey with the industry, the segment, the (your) Brand.

With real, human Insights, the impact is great. Insights affect everything, from your homepage copy to a list of benefits that the target audience needs, and the clarity of your messages. Whole marketing campaigns can go under, simply because …routine targets the wrong people with stereotypes.

I still hold dearly the words of Sir Frank Lowe, when he was talking to a customer group for their Communications: “The best Vision is Insight“.

And here’s a small present for you, to help realize what Insights are: the nice article 10 Ad Campaigns Inspired By Powerful Consumer Insights which offers many good examples, as well as AdAge’s top-15 insightful campaigns.

You’ll understand why they are insightful… and hopefully, you’ll join Borrow My Brain for an Insight Mining & Briefing training.

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