In the advertising business, if a copywriter’s output is words and an art director’s product is visual imagery, then a planner’s contribution is insight.
“Insight” is so commonly used that its meaning has worn around the edges a bit.
A lot of people use the word to mean a finite factoid – “an insight.” I’ve been guilty of this, but I don’t think it captures what the word is supposed to mean.
To me, insight is what happens when you succinctly answer a great question. The answer to “Why do our customers prefer our competitors even though they offer inferior products with higher prices?” would offer a good look into the psyche of your customer – an insight.
These kinds questions are answerable, but not on a survey. We can’t expect to ask people these questions and get usable answers. That’s where we come in. We have to read between the lines.
If planners do this well, they come up with an idea that makes us take a step back and think, “Huh, I’ve never thought about it quite like that before.”