Alpha-Diver logo and Founder and President Hunter Thurman.

Hunter Thurman

Founder and President, Alpha-Diver

How can insights more effectively guide creative effectiveness?

For all the breakthroughs, promises and aspirations across marketing insights, the fundamental goal still eludes most teams: Put the right message, in front of the right person, at the right time to convert to purchase.

The realm of behavioral science bears the potential to progress this agenda yet when it comes to creative and content effectiveness, most conversations center around measurement and attribution. In other words, measuring performance AFTER creative development. 

What’s more, many market research outputs remain in the domain of the squishy: interesting, maybe even exciting, but quite difficult to translate into creative briefs. As a result, we’ve all experienced the dynamic where creative teams participate politely in insights briefings but then struggle to activate on the guidance. 

But there’s a brighter path forward. Using more emergent techniques to focus more deeply on the true WHYs behind consumer and shopper behavior illuminates creative shortcuts that translate directly to real life decision making. 

A quick primer on two simple, yet seminal, principles to consider in your work: 

  1. Locus of control
  2. Facts vs. feels

Locus of control

This one sounds kind of fancy but it couldn’t be simpler. Does your ideal consumer want to have more control over and via your category or do they want to be absolved of having to exert control? This has huge bearing on the creative content that will capture attention and drive behavior.

Imagine a person trying to choose what to make for dinner. Do they:

A. Make a weekly menu, look up new recipes online and learn new cooking techniques, OR

B. Wander the aisles, order from DoorDash and simply want good meals on the table made easy?

Consumer A has an internal locus of control and they want to remain in control via communications and content.

Consumer B has an external locus of control and wants to be absolved of having to even be in control via communications and content. Which leads to the second principle: 

Facts vs. feels

If they want control, they make decisions via the FACTS.

  • Words and numbers over pictures or imagery – this brain function relates directly to verbal communication.
  • Side-by-side comparisons – they want to make an informed choice based on their expertise over your category space.
  • They’re mission shoppers – they make a list, decide on categories and brands well ahead of shopping. 

If they want absolution, they make decisions via the FEELS. 

  • Pictures and videos over words and numbers.
  • High sensory content – they decide with their senses, not their rational brains.
  • They’re ambient shoppers – they make decisions on-the-spot, based on following all five senses to guide them to what FEELS best.

In your next insights project, focus on understanding their desire for – or against – control and brief your team accordingly to leverage the facts or the feels.