OMG! I'm not intuitive anymore

In my youth I always thought I was fairly intuitive. In fact in an agency meeting, a long way back, I said that my special quality (we'd been asked) was ‘being intuitive’ – which peed off another senior manger I disliked as he had said something really w*nky and he would have loved if people thought he was intuitive (he wasn't).

In fact I don’t think it was intuition, more of an openness to consider things that didn’t fit with my current knowledge/experience. Londoners can be very London centric so I constantly had to tell colleagues that they have to remember that the majority of consumers didn’t live in London.

Who needs research?

I didn’t really need research to tell me what people’s concerns/motivations were for buying I just had to imagine myself in their shoes. (Oh and having recently seen a stack load of research for a large multinational I’m sure I could have saved them a shed load of money by telling them the rather obvious conclusions to most of it!!).

The point is that we all seemed to be quite simple beings. So the thoughts I had, or could imagine others having, were fairly accurate. We had to do a piece on pensions for a major bank and I thought their strategy was poor. They hadn't really thought through the impact on customers of what they wanted to do. So I just simplified the approach and it worked really well.

So although not a planner I got good at developing strategies that actually delivered good results.

It’s all different now!

Have my intuitive powers suddenly dropped off a cliff (along with my planning skills)? Have I got so old that my brain won’t let me think beyond my very narrow grumpy old man views? Actually I don’t think so.

I believe that what’s happened is that in the past we thought quite generally about customers. Even in direct mail we didn't segment that much as a 'general' approach seemed to work. It was easier to get some insights into what the majority of people would think and run with that.

But now in the digital age we have to deal with the minutia of audiences. We can’t have general feelings about how customers will react. (I was astounded that people got upset when others viewed their profile on LinkedIn in anonymous mode!!)

So it’s not that I’m not intuitive anymore it’s just that we need more super powers to work out how the hell people we market to customers these days. And it's no longer just being outside London, it's about being outside our front door.

The Stream Team


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