What is true insight?

How to turn information into actionable insights

How do we get from raw data to information to actionable insights? How do we deliver true insight to the customer? These questions were topical at the International Summit of Measurement.


Last week I visited Amsterdam for two days, where AMEC (The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) held its annual International Summit on Measurement. AMEC is, according to their website “the global trade body and professional institute for agencies and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research”.


The theme of this year’s summit was “Upping the Game ““ From Measurement to Insights”. That last part sounds familiar: that’s what we do at M-Brain. One might say that M-Brain is very much in line with what the main topic of discussion was at the seminar, which is: how do we deliver true insight to the customer?


That is a tough question. What is insight? There does not exist any universal truth, because insight is very individual. What might be experienced as insight for one client can be experienced as something completely irrelevant for another client. If a group of ten people were tasked with trying to explain what insight is in one sentence, there would probably be ten different answers. My own answer would be something along the lines of “Insight is a realization, based on a piece of analyzed information, that has a direct impact on your business and is easily actionable”.


Understanding businesses is the key to true insight

How then do we get from raw data to information to actionable insights? It all starts with trying to understand the client’s business and their needs. What do they want to achieve, how are they planning on getting there and what type of information will aid them on their way?


After that we need to figure out how to extract the relevant information from the huge mass of data out there, then we need to process it, analyze it and evaluate how these pieces of information relate to the business goals of the client.


The next step is to have a look at the type of client we are serving. Is the end user a marketing professional, a business intelligence team, a market analyst, a PR department or is it a CEO? This has a huge impact on the way in which the output it packaged. A different use of the same information needs to be presented in different ways, especially if our goal is to deliver easily actionable insights.


Raising profits, creating new opportunities, averting crises

How do we then know if we have succeeded in delivering the insight? Ultimately, if the client is happy, we have succeeded. But if we dig a bit deeper, we have succeeded if our client has been able to avert a crisis, for example, or if information we have provided has been proven to have an impact on revenue or profits, or if it has lead to a new business opportunity. This is what I would call true actionable insight.


As I mentioned earlier, there is no universal agreement on the one true meaning of insight. What I have described above is M-Brain’s view. The AMEC summit showed me that there are quite a number of varying
views, even within our own industry. Simple measurement and analyzing of data is not enough anymore. How to deliver insights is the name of the game in this age of big data, and I believe that M-Brain is well on the way in leading this evolution in our industry.


By Joakim Nyberg



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