Why Great Marketing Requires Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight

What makes a great marketing campaign? You might say excellent content or fantastic design. Yes, those things are important, but the linchpin of great marketing is data. Specifically, you need to look at hindsight, insight, and foresight.

In this article, we’ll explore what we mean by hindsight, insight, and foresight, and how to utilise them to build an effective marketing campaign.

What Do We Mean by ‘Hindsight’?

When we talk about hindsight in the context of marketing, it means that we’re looking at historical data. Historical data includes:

  • How they’ve interacted with your firm in the past (have they emailed you about a problem? Have they scheduled an appointment to talk to a salesperson?)
  • What they’ve purchased in the past
  • What actions have they taken on your site (have they signed up for your newsletter? Have they downloaded any content, like white papers?)

What Do We Mean by ‘Insight’?

  • ‘Insight’ refers to current analytics. What is the customer doing right now? Examples of insight include:
  • How a customer is interacting with a campaign that’s running or has just finished
  • What actions your customer is taking on your site right now
  • Their location
  • Their device

What Do We Mean by ‘Foresight’?

‘Foresight’ has to do with predictive analytics. Predictive analytics uses data mining, statistics, and modeling to make predictions on what might happen in the future.

A great example of predictive analytics is the recommendation engine. Let’s say you’re on TradeMe, looking for books about Impressionist artists. You find a listing you like. At the bottom of the screen, you notice that there are books related to the one you’re about to purchase. Based on what you’re already looking at, the recommendation engine can suggest other items for purchase that might interest you.


Why Does Hindsight Matter for Marketers?

Historical marketing analytics matter for marketers for three reasons:

  • You can’t build a complete profile of a customer if you don’t understand what he or she has done in the past
  • You can’t use predictive analytics if you don’t know what a customer has done in the past
  • Historical marketing analytics help you measure or set benchmarks for what success looks like


Why Does Insight Matter for Marketers?

Current marketing analytics matter for marketers for three reasons:

  • They contribute to the complete customer profile we mentioned above
  • They help you learn what you can do differently in future campaigns
  • They show you whether you’ve chosen the right channels to target


Why Do Predictive Analytics Matter for Marketers?

Predictive analytics are advanced analytics. One of the reasons they matter is because they demonstrate that you’ve achieved a level of analytics sophistication – you can actually predict, with a fair amount of accuracy, what a customer will do next. That’s a very valuable capability.

The second reason is that predictive analytics allow marketers to create more effective marketing campaigns. With advanced analytics, you understand where your efforts and resources will be best spent (specifically, what channels you should use, how you should create your influencer programme, and being able to measure multi-touch attribution).


How to Use Hindsight to Build a Great Marketing Campaign

The use of historical marketing analytics is a crucial part of a successful marketing campaign because this information guides your context. What did the customer do in the past? What marketing campaigns worked (and equally as important, what didn’t work?)?

Additionally, historical marketing analytics helps you create benchmarks for your campaign. You don’t know what success looks like if you don’t know what’s happened in the past.


How to Use Insight to Build a Great Marketing Campaign

Insight is also an important part of your marketing campaign. Why is that? Current marketing analytics help you understand where the customer is at right now. Where are they in their customer journey? How are they interacting with your company at this moment?

With the insights you’ve gained from your current marketing activities, you can make better decisions about how to optimise channels.

How to Use Foresight to Build a Great Marketing Campaign

Predictive analytics are the third critical part of a successful marketing campaign, and here’s why:

  • As mentioned earlier, they show that you can use advanced analytics in a sophisticated, cutting-edge way
  • They give you a sense of what your customers may do next, which is invaluable knowledge


An Example of Using Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight in a Marketing Campaign

To give you a sense of how to use hindsight, insight, and foresight, we’ll illustrate with an example. Let’s say that Celeste is the marketing director for a staffing firm, and she’s about to run a marketing campaign.

Celeste reviews the historical data that her firm has gathered on its clients. From what she can see, the ideal client is in the human resources department (usually the director), who usually clicks on Google ads that come up during searches for staffing firms. Typically, after clients fill one role, they tend to be loyal to Celeste’s company for several years.

“With historical data, marketers understand who customers are and how they’ve interacted with the firm in the past”

When Celeste looks at more current marketing analytics, she can see where her customers are in their journey – they’re in the consideration stage, just before they purchase. She can also tell they do most of their searches during the week, from a desktop (most likely from their offices).

This is where the predictive analytics come in: based on what they’ve done in the past and what customers are doing now, Celeste can figure out what they might do next. She can create a marketing campaign that suggests content (and, later on, when customers are further into their journey, packages) that would appeal to them.

Enlighten Designs: Helping You Incorporate Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight into Your Marketing

Since 1998, Enlighten Designs has created delightful digital experiences for its clients. Our expertise and skills in data and marketing enable us to use advanced analytics to create successful campaigns. To learn more about how to use marketing analytics, contact us.

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