When Do You Need Marketing Data vs Consumer Insights?

Marketers are always talking about how data is essential to the marketing process. 

However, there’s a lot of confusion about what that means. When marketers say “data,” they could be referring to metrics like you’d find in Google Analytics, or they could be talking about consumer insights generated through research. 

Data and insights aren’t interchangeable terms they’re used in different contexts and at different stages of the marketing process. This article will explore the relationship between them, including when and why you need each.

6 Reasons Why You Need Marketing Analytics – YouTube
1. Understanding Context: Recognize the appropriate contexts for utilizing marketing data and consumer insights to make informed decisions.
2. Data vs. Insights: Differentiate between raw marketing data and consumer insights, and learn when to leverage each for strategic advantage.
3. Tailored Strategies: Implement strategies that leverage consumer insights for personalized marketing, and use market data for broader industry analysis.
4. Decision-making Precision: Use consumer insights to refine decision-making at the individual level and market data for more comprehensive strategy adjustments.
5. Holistic Approach: Integrate marketing data and consumer insights to create a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior, leading to effective marketing campaigns and business growth.

Data And Insights Serve Different Purposes

Data and insights serve different purposes. Data is about what happened, while insights are about why it happened. 

Data gives you the information you need to understand your current situation and make informed decisions. Insights help you ask better questions and understand what is going on around you in a new way.

Data helps you measure progress towards strategic goals; insights help you explore new ideas or opportunities that might become part of your strategy in the future. 

Data helps you understand who your customers are; insights tell them why they should care about your brand or product in the first place which can be especially helpful for converting more prospects into loyal customers over time!

Finally, data comes from many sources customer surveys, web analytics tools like Google Analytics, etc (they all collect some form of “data”).

But only insight comes from within ourselves: our mental models about how people think/feel/act when interacting with products/services etcetera…

Learning how to conduct market research for free can provide valuable insights without breaking the bank. Discover methods and tools to gather data effectively and make informed decisions.

Data Helps Us Understand What’s Happening

Data is the key to understanding what’s happening. Data helps us understand the big picture, what’s going on in the world at large, or just how our customers are behaving.

Data is a collection of facts and figures a quantitative measure. It’s objective and not subjective. 

People will argue about whether “data-driven” means “emotionless,” but I think that depends on your definition of emotion if you view it as an irrational response to something external (like being angry at someone who cut you off on the road), then probably not. 

But if you consider emotions as internal experiences that lead to actions, then yes, data-driven decisions can be considered rational because they’re based on rational thinking rather than emotional reactions alone.

Insights Help Us Understand Why

Insight helps us understand why something happened or, more importantly, why it happened in a particular way. If you want to improve the results of your marketing efforts, you need insight into how people think and behave.

Insight helps us understand why something happened or, more importantly, why it happened in a particular way. If you want to improve the results of your marketing efforts, you need insight into how people think and behave. 

This enables us to move beyond generalities and get specific about what worked well or not so well for different types of customers at different stages in their journey with our brand.

Insight helps us understand why something happened or, more importantly, why it happened in a particular way. If you want to improve the results of your marketing efforts (and make them more cost-effective), we can help!

Exploring the 16 types of marketing research and why you need them can expand your understanding of how different research approaches contribute to better consumer insights and informed strategies.

Data Helps Make Decisions

Data is a powerful tool for making decisions. It can help you understand what’s working (and what isn’t) in your marketing and advertising campaigns, but it also helps you make smart business-on-the-ground choices that will improve the quality of your products or services.

Data has many advantages over other sources of information:

Data is more reliable. If a piece of data can be measured and quantified, it becomes much easier to determine whether or not the results are accurate. 

This makes data less susceptible to bias and subjectivity than other types of information like “gut feelings” or expert opinions. Some would argue that all objective knowledge comes from measuring things in this way including math itself!

Data is more objective than subjective opinion because measurements are made by instruments instead of people; 

Therefore there’s little room for error when interpreting results from those instruments’ measurements (compared with someone who might misinterpret those same numbers due to their preconceptions).

Insights Help Predict The Future

Marketing data is important, but by itself, it can’t predict the future. Marketing data is the information you have about your website, customers, and other business processes. 

It can be used to inform decisions and help make predictions about what will happen next (i.e., “We’re selling fewer widgets than we expected to sell this quarter because our Facebook ads aren’t working as well as they should”). 

But insights are different: they’re based on consumer behavior rather than company performance metrics like sales numbers or product adoption rates. 

Insights help explain why something happened and how that might affect future outcomes by looking at factors such as customer demographics, market conditions, or competitive activity within an industry sector.

This means that while marketing data may reveal that sales were lower than expected last quarter (which would require further analysis), consumer insights tell us why those sales were low (for example maybe consumers weren’t responding well to a new product line). 

The difference between these two types of information is crucial because it enables marketers to take action based on actual consumer behavior rather than just guesswork about what might happen in the future based on past performance reports from their organization alone; 

With insight-driven decision making comes more accurate predictions about future outcomes which lead directly to better decision making overall!

In the article on how I collected the data for my marketing research project, the author shares their firsthand experience and methodologies for gathering data, offering practical insights for your own research endeavors.

Data Is Accessible Because It Is Straightforward To Measure

Data is accessible because it is straightforward to measure. Data is quantitative, objective, and repeatable. In contrast to consumer insights which are mostly subjective, qualitative, and not always reliable.

The difference between data and insights can be explained in terms of their scope:

Data is available on any subject that you want to know about. The internet allows us access to information about almost every topic under the sun and even topics that don’t exist yet! 

If we want data on how many times people laugh in a day or where they prefer to watch TV shows (and yes, these are both real examples), then there will be something out there for us to gather together into an infographic or report upon request.

Insight tends towards being more specific than data; it focuses on one thing or a small number of things in particular rather than everything else at once. 

So if we wanted insight into why Americans don’t seem interested in cricket anymore then we’d probably need our consumer research agency – but if we just wanted some general information about what sports people play nowadays then another agency would probably suffice

Insights Are Not As Easily Measured But They Give Context To The Data

An insight is not a number; it’s not easily measured in the same way as data. But insights help you understand why, predict the future, and make decisions based on what you know. 

It also gives context to the data so you can better understand what’s happening and what will happen next. 

In marketing, we often talk about consumer insights because they’re helpful when trying to reach consumers who aren’t quite ready yet the ones who don’t need your product yet but will soon (see: millennials).

So how do we get insights? There are two ways I like to think about this: First is through primary research, or qualitative research (think interviews). 

You’re asking people questions about their lives that tell you more than just a survey would ever reveal because people tend not to give all of their thoughts away in surveys they’ll leave out important details or answer with answers that are vague enough that they could mean anything else besides what they said originally! 

The second way I like thinking about getting consumer insights is through secondary research, which involves looking at existing data sets with new eyes and asking questions based on those observations.

Rather than solely relying on intuition alone without any hard evidence beforehand; this helps us uncover things we may never have realized before!

Enhance your marketing research practices by delving into the discussion on why marketing research doesn’t always work and how to do it better. Explore the challenges and effective strategies to make your research efforts more successful.

Data Can Be Hard To Interpret On Its Own

Data is easy to find, but hard to interpret on its own. Data is a cold, hard fact. For example: “People who buy this product have an average annual income of $100k.” 

That data point doesn’t tell you what the people doing the buying are thinking or feeling as they do it. 

It doesn’t tell you why they’re buying that particular product over another one; it doesn’t tell you what their motivations are, and it certainly doesn’t tell you if they’d be willing to pay more for a similar product with a better packaging design.

If your goal is just to understand how people behave based on certain variables like income level or gender or location that’s where consumer insights come in handy! 

Consumer insights are about understanding behavior and motivations in context so that we can make smarter business decisions around products or services based on those understandings (and not just from raw numbers).

Insights Show The Narrative Behind The Data And Help Give Meaning

Insights are stories: they’re the narrative that helps give meaning to your data. They help you understand why you have what you have, and how things relate to each other, and make predictions based on what you know now.

Data is quantitative; it tells us what happened in a very specific way. Insights help us interpret that data so we can put it into context and understand how it relates to other information we have or might get in the future. 

Insights give us context around data points so that we can draw conclusions from them and make decisions based on those conclusions they help us predict what might happen next!

Data Should Lead To Insights And Insights Should Lead To Data

The next time you’re wondering whether your marketing should be driven by data or insights, remember that it’s a two-way street. 

Data should lead to insights, which then drive decisions. Insights give marketers the context they need when considering how best to use their data and where it can be most effective and those decisions can help them generate more data for the next round of insights.

In other words: no matter what kind of marketing work you do, you’ll benefit from thinking about how your efforts fit into a larger picture. If you’re looking for an easy way to start doing this, try using our guide on “How To Make Better Decisions.”

When Data Becomes Actionable It Is Insight, When Insight Becomes Measurable It Is Data

It’s important to remember that a data point is not an insight. Data points are just raw facts, while insights tell a story and help us understand why people do what they do. Insights are more of a mindset and often require some creativity to be realized as actionable.

The best way to think about this is through an example: If you measure the wrong metrics and then use those measurements as your insight, you will get the wrong results. 

For example, if your goal is to increase revenue by 30% but only measure revenue without understanding why customers buy from you or what motivates them (or both).

Then any insights derived from these measurements will be useless because they won’t lead towards increased sales or overall growth for your company.

You Need Both Data And Insights

Data is the raw material of insights. Insights are the interpretations of data. 

To make a computer, you need silicon, and to make a smartphone, you need more than just silicon you need plastic, metal, glass, and various other materials that combine in complex ways to create something useful. 

The raw materials for insights are facts about the what of your business (what did we sell?) and how much (how many units?). These are often called “data.”

Data is what computers do well; they translate huge amounts of data into meaning through algorithms and automated processes. 

But just as important as having enough data or information is knowing what it all means: how can our customers use this product? 

What could they do with it? Why would they buy it? And how should we position ourselves against our competitors so that people will choose us over them?

These questions all require an interpretation based on past experiences and observations about customers’ behaviors as well as predictions about future trends based on current conditions; 

These answers are very difficult to automate because they require human judgment about whether certain behaviors indicate customer intent or not.

Discovering the 14 ways to master marketing research can provide you with actionable steps to refine your research skills and derive meaningful insights that drive informed marketing decisions.


Marketing data is the foundation on which consumer insights are built. For a marketer to build consumer insights, they need a strong foundation of actionable marketing data to start with. 

Marketing data can be used for making decisions about improving current processes or plans as well as future ones. Consumer insights are not just about what your customers do, but also why they do it. 

Insights come from analyzing both qualitative and quantitative information to provide an understanding that leads to better strategies and tactics for reaching your customers.

Further Reading

Explore more resources on the topic of customer insights, market research, and consumer behavior:

Customer Insights vs. Market Research: Uncovering the Differences Short Description: Learn about the distinctions between customer insights and market research and how each contributes to a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior.

Market Research vs. Consumer Insights: What’s the Difference? Short Description: Delve into the comparison between market research and consumer insights, and gain insights into their unique roles in shaping business strategies.

Consumer Insights Research vs. Market Research: Navigating the Landscape Short Description: Explore the intricacies of consumer insights research versus market research, and discover how to leverage each approach to gather valuable data.


What is the primary distinction between customer insights and market research?

Customer insights focus on understanding individual customer behaviors, preferences, and motivations, while market research encompasses broader analysis of market trends, competition, and industry dynamics.

How do customer insights contribute to personalized marketing strategies?

Customer insights provide a deep understanding of individual customer needs, enabling businesses to tailor marketing messages, products, and services to resonate with their target audience.

What methods are commonly used in market research?

Market research often involves surveys, focus groups, competitor analysis, and data collection from various sources to gather information about market trends and consumer preferences.

Can consumer insights and market research be used together?

Yes, consumer insights and market research can complement each other. Consumer insights offer a micro-level view of individual behavior, while market research provides a macro-level perspective on industry trends and competitive analysis.

How do consumer insights and market research impact decision-making?

Consumer insights and market research provide data-driven insights that guide business decisions. They help companies identify opportunities, refine strategies, and optimize products and services to meet customer demands effectively.

When Do You Need Marketing Data Vs Consumer Insights?

We know that you have a lot of questions about marketing data and consumer insights, and we’re here to help! Here are some common questions we get asked, and the answers.

What Is Marketing Data?

Marketing data is any information that you can use to help guide your marketing strategy. This could be information about your customers, their habits, or even their preferences anything that can help you figure out how best to reach them.

What Are Consumer Insights?

Consumer insights are what help you make decisions based on the data you’ve collected from your customers’ behavior. 

These insights should help you understand why people act the way they do when interacting with your brand or product so that when it comes time for new marketing campaigns or product development, you have a better idea of what will work best for your audience.

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