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  • Emily

The importance of insight for health sector copywriting

Good commercial or educational copy should inspire a change in behaviour. Maybe not immedietely - although we all strive for that 'life changing' one-hit wonder, of course! But perhaps reading your copy is the first step on a person's journey to change, or it will pop out from their memory banks in the future to reiterate another source of information, lowering their barriers. Either way, it should cause a shift (even if subtle) in an individual's beliefs or attitudes.

Here’s something that may sound obvious: in order to change behaviour, you first need to understand why people are behaving the way they currently do. But gathering true, raw, unbiased insight into behaviour is perhaps more complicated than you might think.

How does insight differ from market research?

Put simply, market research is the data collected, and insight is the interpretation of that data. The data that market research collects (which can vary from large-scale surveys, to individual interviews) gives us facts, but being able to interpret what those facts mean is where the true power lies. Market research gives us the ‘what?’ but insight provides the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’.

What creates good marketing/advertising insight?

Good insight is based on good market research and good market research is dependent on a number of factors:


Researchers need to know the environment that the target audience is operating within to be able to ask the right questions, to the right people, in the right way. Researchers need to project true understanding and empathy, and have the ability to recognise a seemingly quick and frivolous comment that perhaps hides a massively important barrier.

Good questioning

The lines of enquiry need to be developed with educated purpose and intent, without being leading or introducing bias.

Effective probing

It’s not just enough to recognise barriers or motivators - researchers need to be able to explore further by encouraging the individual to speak openly, without being seen to interrogate. They need to be able to gently but firmly push, until they fully understand the ‘why’ of an attitude or behaviour.

Seeing the bigger picture

Considering the audience group as a whole is key. Researchers need to appreciate how everything fits together and be curious enough to follow leads that add colour (but quickly identify a dead end when they reach one!)… Being agile and applying insight already gathered to further insight gathering can help differentiate between true group insight, or individual outliers.

Interpreting market research data

It’s that next step – interpreting the information gathered that provides the valuable insight. For example, knowing that vets don’t routinely discuss behaviour in consults is one thing, understanding why is much more powerful.

All the above elements come into play here. It can be argued that research and insight shouldn’t be a linear process and works best when allowed to be slightly organic. When the two happen simultaneously and a ‘learn and refine’ approach can be included in the process, the results can be much more robust. This relies on skilled researchers.

What are the benefits of good marketing/advertising insight

By investing in good insight, the product positioning, campaign messaging, creative direction and so on will materialise with ease and be so much stronger as a result. After all, isn’t one of the strongest ‘behaviour changers’ the feeling of being heard and understood?

Can we help you understand your key audiences better? Get in touch so we can get an insight into your insight needs!

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