To read this content please select one of the options below:

Locating and leveraging inside sources of consumer insights

Brian Wansink (Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




Inside sources are people who interact with target consumers on a frequent or intense basis. They can have powerful insights about why consumers behave as they do. This paper aims to focus on how to identify, interview and leverage inside sources to uncover new insights about target consumers and how to better engage with them.


This paper provides field-tested techniques on how to elicit the most useful insights from inside sources. The paper demonstrates how the generated insights can be used for everything from more precise targeting and message development to modifying products and services to increase loyalty, usage frequency or switching behavior.


Generating novel insights about a unique target market involves four steps: identify, locate, interview inside sources and then apply the insights.

Research limitations/implications

There can be limitations to interviewing inside sources, such as interviewer bias, respondent bias and the Hawthorne effect. Some individuals react differently to different events, and some insights are not generalizable.

Practical implications

Costly wide-scale surveys, laddering interviews or focus groups are not always needed to uncover insights about target consumers. Within 24 hours, inside sources can produce the insights needed to better market products, develop research questions or design interventions.


Generating novel insights about a unique target market can be done quickly and inexpensively. It involves leveraging inside sources – those people who interact frequently or intensively with target consumers.



Wansink, B. (2016), "Locating and leveraging inside sources of consumer insights", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 145-152.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles