Deliver the why, not just the what: How the insights business is changing
Post-pandemic, insight providers are in high demand as brands attempt to to quickly adapt to a new environment. So how to get the most out of data and insight providers?
What you need to know:
- With a greater need to understand consumer mindset, insights now have a seat at the table. We’re providing more information to marketers and C-suites than ever.
- Data is now a dynamic planning tool. Where research and insights were very much a focus on past behaviour, there’s now a surge in demand for strategic foresight – we used to look at last week, now we’re looking at next year.
- Clients are leaning on research providers more in recent months than ever before and insights teams are being involved earlier and more intensely in the research process.
- More data doesn’t necessarily mean more value. Research providers who focus on evidence provide more value to the client, which often means working with secondary and non-survey data – social media insights should have a supporting not a starring role.
- We are seeing a move towards DIY models that provide customisable self-serve options to the client.
Like most industries, the research and insights sector has been forced to adapt to new client needs in the wake of a pandemic. But unlike many industries, we’re now in even higher demand. That’s fortunate for both us and for businesses looking to drive real strategic growth in an uncertain playing field. A recent report commissioned by The Research Society in Australia, The Market Research Society (UK) and the Insights Association (US) explains exactly how, why and where the future of insight is heading. No matter what your game, it’s worth paying attention.
Read the road
Marketers, advertisers and the C-suite at large are, now more than ever, relying on strategic insights to deliver results at the bottom line. For obvious reasons, a better understanding of what lies ahead, and knowledge of impending trends will prove to be the competitive advantage businesses need to drive growth in a rebuilding world.
As a result of this increase in importance and demand, the research and insights industry has seen a good old-fashioned shake-up. This means businesses must pay close attention to ensure they’re getting the most out of their data and insights partners.
Deliver the why
While retrospective research is right within its own function, look for the guys who are thinking forward and letting their data and advice inform strategy, not just tactics.
It’s not always enough to use raw figure data, while we can do a lot with single source data, multi-source and multi-method data has proven more effective. Research firms specialising in either industry or methodology have been forced to reassess their models as this is simply no longer viable. Data’s role as a dynamic planning tool should be promoted within the business, and in order to do that, your partner should be looking at a range of data sources to form holistic views of people and trends. Moreover, your insights partner should be able to go beyond the data set itself and deliver the why – instead of simply the what. This allows businesses to throw forward and really predict trends rather than act on them as the data indicates they arise.
It’s the old saying in sport – don’t play to where the ball is, play to where it’s going. When your business can better understand a holistic view of society and culture, leveraging clear, rich and evidence-backed insights, the road ahead becomes far sturdier.
Specsavers head of market and planning, Shaun Briggs, needed a big brand hit to kick-start life after Covid. MAFS was hardly love at first sight. But it quickly grew – literally – as the brand, its agency AJF Partnership, and Nine’s Powered creative unit delivered a bespoke integration within weeks. For Briggs, “it’s been an eye opener”.