Financial Word

Lucian Camp

Brand & Marketing Consultant

Lucian Camp Consulting

Lucian Camp bemoans the lack of real consumer insight coming out of the ‘insight’ hothouses.
The holy grail, the north-west passage, the alchemical formula for turning base metal into gold: for centuries, impossible quests for wonders like these captured the imaginations of millions.
In marketing, the modern-day equivalent is something called ‘consumer insight.’ Thousands of highly-trained, highly-paid strategists, planners and researchers spend their working days on quests for this priceless commodity. Consumer insight, we all agree, is the starting point, the sine qua non, for truly compelling and involving propositions and communications.
The annals of the insight-hunters show that over the years, they’ve done better than those looking for the holy grail, yeti or Loch Ness Monster. Great and precious insights have been found in considerable numbers, ever since the famous bloke (maybe Black, or possibly Decker) who said, “people don’t want quarter-inch drills, they want quarter inch holes in their walls.”
If I had more space, I’d probably quibble with this a bit. For one thing, if you have a quarter inch drill, sod’s law says you almost certainly want a three-sixteenths or five-eighths hole in the wall. And for another, a lot of us blokes actually do want a quarter inch drill – with hammer action, reversible drive, and variable speed. And a motor of at least 850 watts, and preferably Wolf or Bosch, because Black & Decker is a bit naff. But that’s just blokes for you.
Returning briefly to the Annals of Insight, there’s the 60s US Volkswagen stuff and the insight that lots of Americans actually did want small, cheap, slow cars. Also Ken Livingstone and, “if you want me out, you should have the right to vote me out.” As well as, Stella and “reassuringly expensive,” not to mention The Independent and “It is. Are you?” And dozens and dozens of others.
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