Do you understand Marketing Speak?

It’s a funny old language Marketing, isn’t it? Full of words we bandy about without being certain everyone understands them.

My particular hobbyhorse at the moment is ‘insight’. Now there’s a word that’s the butter on every innovation sandwich. But do we truly understand what it means?

I’ve recently found a great way to help me use insight the right way. I was trudging home the other day in the snow and noticed all the manhole covers down the centre of the road were free of ice. Now that’s an observation.

I then pondered a bit and worked out that underneath the metal covers are pipes full of warm water or sewerage. That warmth and the good conduction provided by the manhole material ensures these little circles provide a series of brown punctuation marks along our otherwise white roads. That’s an insight. It explains a behaviour or phenomenon.

And leading on from insight comes another tricky marketing word – a platform. This is what marketers do with insights. They take the observation and resultant explanation, combine it with trend information and build it into a jumping off point for Innovation by saying, how could we use our insights to create new opportunities for our brand?

In my particular example, an innovation platform might be something like – given the increasing tendency for winters to be colder in Europe, how can we better use heat to keep our roads snow free.

By the way the picture at the top is a manhole cover I spotted in Normandy. One of those opportunities to design something beautiful that few authorities grasp.