It’s easy to immerse ourselves in the comforting clarity of ones and zeroes. After all, the outside world is ambiguous. Its infinite gray scale is hard to pin down. But the world isn’t digital. And the insights we need as marketers don’t always come from a computer.

The world sometimes seems digital. Facebook has 3 gazillion users, and everyone and his uncle Tweets. We shop online. We play games online. We learn online. We comment online. We even talk by texting. And all our friends LOL.
That’s an awful lot of screen time. But sometimes we need to just disconnect and experience the world. Go old school. See how people are feeling and reacting beyond the keyboard.

See the Real World

Marketing is an art and a science. Good marketers need data for direction, but they also need understanding. Get out and start people-watching. Talk to store clerks. Observe shoppers as they browse.

Look up from your smart phone and experience all the ways your product or service touches your customers — in the store, on the phone, in face-to-face conversations. When you leave the digital world and experience the real world, you’ll find the insights you need to connect with your target in new ways.

What questions are customers asking? What collateral tools might help a salesman close a deal? We’ve learned a lot by going to the point of sale and talking to the players.

Data is digital. Real insights come from real-world experience. We need both. Some of our best ideas have come from visiting dealers and distributors, or watching customers interact with products. That’s the reality that matters most.
What insights have you discovered by getting away from the keyboard? I’d like to hear.