Tech Line

Part One: The Nature of Insight and ‘Tripping Over the Truth’

This article is based on a recent PFL virtual event titled, “How to Deliver Powerful Insights that Turn Engagement into Action.” It was hosted by the author and featured PFL customer-experience experts, Jordan Skovron and Wes Deen.

When we create powerful moments of insight, we can transform the minds of our audiences and drive urgency and action. As marketers, we are very good at reaching customers and prospects, but we aren’t always that good at engaging with them. Reaching people is not complicated—there are so many channels today; it's just the amount of noise that's out there. And when we try to reach customers and prospects using only commonplace digital tactics, most of what we do gets lost in a “sea of sameness.”  

A while back, PFL commissioned a Forrester research study which found that 76 percent of marketers agree that digital engagement is trending lower than in previous years. Clearly, it’s time for all marketers to start thinking a little bit differently. How can we elevate or enhance some of the programs we’re running by just adjusting our thinking and looking at things from a different angle? Make no mistake, the engagement struggle is real—but so is the sea of sameness. The question is: How can we create experiences for customers that are memorable?

While there is all manner of experiences, the easiest way to stand out is to pay attention to the details. What's the magic moment? What is it that's going to make this experience different from, or more special and memorable than, other such experiences?

Four Key Elements

In their bestseller, The Power of Moments, authors Chip and Dan Heath suggest that there are really four key elements to creating and designing powerful moments that stand out. The first one is “elevation.”

Moments of elevation are surprising and boost sensory appeal. They rise above the routine.

Moments of elevation are surprising and boost sensory appeal. They rise above the routine. “Connection” is the second one—many defining moments in our lives are social and bring people together. Then there are moments of “celebration.” These are some of the most obvious and easiest to recall, such as graduations, promotions, major accomplishments, and awards.

The fourth powerful moment involves “insight,” the creation of realizations and transformations. Think of the “aha!” moments or “eureka!” experiences you've had. Those time when you realize, “Oh, my goodness, I never thought of that before!”

Of course, not all such moments are positive experiences. Sometimes they might involve realizing a habit is not healthy, or that you’ve been neglecting a certain area of your life. Some call this concept “tripping over the truth.”

There are three parts to helping people trip over the truth. The first is that we need to choose and reveal a clear insight. If you are merely pushing data or stats on someone, your message can get lost in the numbers. Think of insight as a value proposition that you have developed for your company, service, or product. What is the singular value prop—or truth—that you want your audience to understand?

The second part is it’s critical for the moment to be compressed in time. It’s a quick hit, not something that takes a week, a month, or a year to realize. You might warm the recipients up for the moment of insight—tease it, if you will—but to trip is a very sudden experience. So, think about how the insight can be illuminated in a blink.

Finally—and most important—all of this must end with the insight being discovered by your audience. You must lead them to the discovery without actually telling them they have the problem. This requires a subtle approach, one in which you are agnostic to the questions and the content that you share. Your role is to help the audience member reflect on the issue and come to an insightful realization on their own. The Heaths say it best: "You can't appreciate the solution until you appreciate the problem."

How to Create Moments of Insight  

So, how do marketers today go about doing this? Well, the great news is that you probably already have some tools and content available with which to create moments of insight. Quizzes, assessments, calculators, blogs, white papers, and other evergreen content that already exists can be tapped to create moments of insight. You can start by simply looking at how they can be used in a new—insightful—way.

Evergreen content that already exists can be tapped to create moments of insight. Simply look at how they can be used in a new—insightful—way.

Whatever the content, the point is to get your audience to reflect on it on their terms and for their situation. It’s worth noting here that direct mail can play an important part here because it is highly engaging. In a recent PFL-sponsored Forrester study, we found that 81 percent of respondents said they would open direct mail that they received. So, to create insight, you can deliver these realizations, repurpose them, then print them. You can direct people to your digital resources through a postcard containing a QR code or URL. There are many ways to make sure that the insights and relevant tools you provide to your customers and prospects can be used and accessed by everyone.

It all comes down to looking at situations from the recipient’s perspective. You must understand their problem and what they're experiencing. Focus on identifying and defining who your target audience is, then put yourself in their shoes. That’s the first step to helping them acknowledge and understand their own problem, and then deriving some “aha moment” insight about it.

In Part 2, we will explore how marketers develop direct mail strategies to implement creative and engaging campaigns that foster insight.