where do you pull your insights?
i can spend a lot of time combing for very little. i guess it's the process of panning for that one fleck of gold, right?
last night, however, i was in the middle of an amazing un-focus group and found myself sitting and listening contently as a group I don't really fit in with engaged and buzzed around a dinner party. in addition to a group of folks my age, about 20 younger people gathered. they were in their very early 20s, some in college, some taking their own paths. but they were the most interesting and hope-filled group of kids I've ever been around. it was refreshing to listen to them discuss current events and brands and places in our world. it was more interesting to observe how they interact with each other - unaided.
that age group ties its social interactions tightly to the Web. but it was amazing to see how the fast-paced, quick-soundbite conversations the Web encourages translated into face-to-face communication. it was easy to see - in real life - how news spreads and WOM grows conversations. most incredible was how tightly their social webs were woven within the group...i don't remember my peers and friends being that close to each other.
i know i sound prematurely old here, but some of us fogies in the group just sat on the porch wide eyed as the party unfolded. the evening came at a good time for another reason. after the virginia tech shootings and yesterday's mall shootings in KC, I've been left with a pretty sad feel for our society - especially the society in which younger folks are growing up. just being around such a vibrant group gave me some hope. the kids, as they say, were more than alright.
the evening was a great reminder to get out and pull my learnings from the real world. while it's irresponsible to look for insight solely from third parties, i don't think many of us in marketing get out and truly watch. focus groups aren't enough. they are great for certain purposes, but aren't organic enough to truly expose natural communication. so get out. find your people. sneak into their worlds, or better yet, work to include yourself. the gold will come to the surface pretty quickly.
listening to - Cassadaga, Bright Eyes. this will easily be a top album of mine from 2007. buy it.