Making Sense: Marketers Find Inspiration in Intuition

Intuition played an important role in the most successful marketing campaigns Kim-Adele Randall ever produced. The data had suggested that her company, Kim-Adele Ltd. (Authentic Achievements), should target a specific demographic. But after painstakingly reviewing everything, Randall’s gut said she should consider complementing the campaign by reaching out to a broader audience.

Against the advice of her team, the renowned master coach, international bestselling author and keynote speaker decided to take a chance and focus on a more general approach. The gamble paid off. The campaign ended up being a huge success. In retrospect, Randall believes the reason the campaign worked was because it resonated with people on a personal level. “We all want to feel like we’re being seen and understood, and that’s what this campaign did. It showed that we were paying attention to the little details, and that made all the difference.”

And there was another factor that Randall says played an important part in the campaign’s success. While the data squarely pointed to a direction that was not incorrect, there was more to making the decision than just numbers. “Anyone in marketing will tell you that data is critical—that you need to know who your target audience is, what they’re interested in, and how they prefer to consume information. But data can only take you so far. At some point, you need to trust your intuition and go with your gut.”

The translation, if you need one, is that there is no substitute for experience. The more you’re exposed to different marketing strategies and tactics, the better you will be at understanding what works and what doesn’t. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve success is to experiment and see what happens. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and try something new.

Ultimately, the goal is to tell a compelling story that resonates with your audience. For example, consider a scenario where two brands are going after the same customer segment. Brand A has extensive data on this segment and knows exactly what it wants. Brand B, on the other hand, does not have as much data, but relies heavily on intuition.
Which brand do you think is more likely to succeed?

Randall believes the ideal marketing strategy requires a healthy mix of data-driven analysis and good old-fashioned
gut instinct. “I believe intuition is one of the most important aspects of marketing and is definitely undervalued today. In a world where data consumes us, it is easy to rely on numbers and analytics to make decisions. But there is more to marketing than just numbers. Intuition allows us to tap into our creativity and come up with truly innovative ideas. It also allows us to connect with our customers on a deeper level. I believe intuition should be valued more highly in marketing. It can be the difference between success and failure.”

If You Think It Can, You Can…

During one of the hottest Julys in the history of New York City, the Midea brand, which is headquartered in China and was looking to break into the U.S. market, reached out to the Pereira O’Dell agency for help. Midea wanted to use creative ways to introduce New Yorkers to its air conditioning units, specifically the Midea U model, which is designed to have a window sill close over it.

Knowing New Yorkers’ penchant for escaping the heat via movie theaters, the Pereira team conceived an idea that was a bit out there, even for out there marketing campaigns—a 90-minute film starring the air conditioning. One shot. 90 minutes. Nothing else, except for free popcorn and soda. Could it work? Was it worth a shot? Moviegoers lined up in droves.

Robin Landa, Distinguished Professor at Kean University and a globally recognized ideation expert, says the film, “A 90-Minute Film of an Air Conditioner,” is what happens when intuition takes control of the wheel. “Business people might distrust intuition or creativity since it’s not backed by facts until it is produced and they see results. But if you have a good creative team, you trust them. Having an education in critical and creative thinking is the foundation of intuition because you’re basing an opinion or thought on knowledge.”

Landa, known as a creativity guru, is widely respected for her views on branding, advertising, ideation, creativity and design. She also is the author of several bestselling books, including “Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design.” She believes that while intelligently deploying customer and consumer data is important, especially as Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a greater role, the role of a marketer’s or creative’s intuition based on education, experience and strategic creativity cannot be discounted.

“If you think about some of the greatest recent marketing successes, such as ‘Fearless Girl’ (McCann NY for State Street Global Advisors), Burger King’s ‘Whopper Detour’ (FCB NY for Burger King), the Crane paper rebrand (Collins for Crane) or ‘Ageless’ (created by BETC, Lacoste’s recent print and commercial campaign), it was strategic creative thinking that landed results,” Landa says. “Trusting one’s intuition means you’re good at certain things, such as pattern recognition, metaphors, having insights into audiences and brands, and being able to deliberate on your thinking.”

One of the allies Landa believes marketers can use more of is print. “Paper provides an opportunity for people’s tactile sense to be engaged, activating different parts of the brain. The various textures of paper also can provide a stimulating experience. Touch is one ongoing way we experience our environment. At a time when we’re all consumed with technology, print allows for a different experience.” Randall says too many marketers underestimate the power of print, especially in a time where everyone is continually bombarded with digital media. Print’s ability to allow people to hold something in their hands and connect with it cannot be discounted from an intuitive point of view. “This makes print an invaluable tool for engagement. It can tell a story in a way that is compelling and authentic, creating a connection that is both powerful and long-lasting.”

In the end, it all comes down to what your gut tells you. Not being afraid to trust your instincts while poring through the data is a winning formula that cannot be discounted.

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