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Can You Deliver On The Top 12 Unmet Needs Of Insights Clients?

What do insights clients say they are looking for that current suppliers are not delivering to them? Here are the Top 12 unmet needs they submitted to the Insight Innovation Challenge.



The time’s they are a’changin, but still they stay the same.

Perhaps that is the theme of the most recent Insight Innovation Challenge, the client-centric crowdsourced approach we use to identify the unmet needs of client research organizations and bring them front and center at the next Insight Innovation Exchange, in this case IIeX North America in Atlanta june 16-18.

While by no means is this exercise even close to a quantitative level sample (there were 15 participants in this round), it is comparable to a qualitative study and should be considered directional. And for the third time, the direction of our forward-looking client participants remains largely unchanged. The focus is on four primary categories of solutions:

  1. New models of connecting and engaging with consumers.
  2. More and deeper understanding of the nonconscious drivers of behavior.
  3. Ways to leverage new data sources, including images, video, sensors, and “Internet of Things” smart devices.
  4. More efficient and smarter ways to synthesize and analyze various data types in an integrated way.

Corporate-Partners Those focus areas have emerged with every Challenge we’ve conducted since it’s inception last year (with a few more specialized needs thrown in here and there), and falls very much in line with the profiles of companies we see IIeX Corporate Partners requesting to meet privately with at previous IIeX events. A few other corroborative data points:

  • When looking at where investment dollars flow, the vast majority of “insights-focused” enterprises  receiving capital infusions fall into one of these big buckets.
  • In talking to multiple client-driven innovation labs, incubators, and accelerators, as well as those operating in academia and through private investors, the same themes appear.
  • It also echoes the types of things client-side insight organizations ask my consultancy, Gen2 Advisors, for help in identifying  for their new vendor selection initiatives.

Taken together, all of this should make for a compelling argument for the continued shift of client interest to new thinking around both the mechanics and the role of insights-generation within their organizations. While certainly many traditional methods continue to thrive these leading indicators point to an active investigation for a data-driven business advantage outside of traditional MR.

The MR supplier community should continue in kind and look for ways to capitalize on these trends too.

There is my strategic take, now let’s get down to the tactical and how GreenBook and IIeX can help.

These challenges are now out there, and it’s our job to identify potential solutions and bring them to IIeX Atlanta. I certainly have a few companies in mind already, but we’d like to give our readers a chance to step up to the plate and be considered as well.

If you believe your  firm has a credible solution to address these unmet needs, send me an email at [email protected] with the subject line “Insight Innovation Challenge” and describe your proposed solution for the Challenge(s) you want to be considered for. Submissions must be received before 12:00 PM EDT on Thursday, May 8th.

We’ll review all the submissions and issue invites to selected companies on Friday, May 9th and also post a list of the selected companies here on the blog.

Selected Challengers will have five minutes to present their solution on-stage in a special session on June 18th during IIeX Atlanta.

Selection preference will be given to submissions from companies that do not already have a standalone presentation slot at the conference. We want to keep the agenda as fresh as possible and will do what we can to reduce repeats if at all possible.

By the way, The Insight Innovation Competition is running right now, and although not directly linked if you want another chance to potentially showcase your solution at IIeX in Atlanta, as well as win $20K and be considered for induction in two different client-led business incubators I urge you to consider submitting to the Competition as well.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 12 Unmet Needs Of Insight’s Clients for this round of the Insight Innovation Challenge!

1. Creative ways to increase survey engagement

People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, with many spending their time in micro-increments and always multi-tasking facilitated by on-demand entertainment and mobile devices. I still want to dive into some topics with customers in a quantitative way, but traditional 15-20 minute surveys don’t seem to work well for either today’s culture or extensive use of mobile devices. What are some innovative ways to increase survey engagement and response through creative use of invitations, incentives, and/or gamification? Would like to see proof that these increase response and/or completion rates.

2. Game-based research, not survey gamification

Making surveys more fun, interactive and engaging is great and useful, but we’d like to see truly scalable social games that also deliver insights on consumer choices, brand perceptions, and behavior. We have worked with companies like Bunchball to develop one-off experiments, but the cost of custom development is high. We’re looking for the same cost efficiencies gained through survey or other software platforms to be applied in this arena.

3. Video curation

We’re amassing immense amounts of video content through mobile ethnography studies. We need a system to store it, curate it, edit it, and analyze it in a secure, cost effective and efficient way.

4. Flexible AR

The old flash-based shelf simulation approaches are slow, expensive, and boring. Why not use augmented reality in a really engaging way in real environments to test new shelf configurations, POP displays, competitive sets, etc… with all of the AR (and soon VR) advances out there it would seem like someone would be working on a solution that can be used for shopper insights or testing. This is a critical need for FMCG and Retailers, and I suspect for many other categories as well.

5. Image analysis

Increasingly consumers are using images, pictures and videos to communicate via social media. These images can be representative of their attitudes, moods, activities, brand relationships, etc.. and contain a wealth of data, perhaps even more than text-based social media content. We are looking for a “Netbase for Images”; a solution that can deliver the same type of data we get from our social media analytics tools, but applied to Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc…. Ideally this solution could also be applied to large image databases we compile through other initiatives as well.

6. The Internet Of Things

Sensors, biometrics, smart devices, wearables, etc… equal unimaginable access to behavioral data that can be used to understand consumers across many dimensions of their lives. Who is aggregating and synthesizing that for insights? We need solutions to allow us to understand the consumer holistically, not just attitudinally and IoT seems to be a great way to begin to make that happen. We need a contextual data framework for insights to bring it to life.

7. The evolution of taste

In the food and beverage space, we have historically conducted product testing using a very functional, system 2 approach to assessing products. Are we missing the boat? The subtle melting of dark chocolate on the tongue, or the herbaceous flavors of a Sauvignon blanc hitting the palette can and do create seismic emotional responses. Who is out there helping insight professionals to capture and dimensionalize these system 1 reactions to products? Bring it on….

8. Better social media analytics

There has to be more actionable analytics that can be derived from social media or unstructured data sources than sentiment; most of the products on the market are appropriate for marketing or PR functions but are largely ineffective for adding to consumer knowledge centers in a deeply meaningful way. it would be helpful to hear cases studies or see examples of how these types of tools are being combined with other measures to generate truly measurable brand impact.

9. More efficient ad & concept testing

Current methods for ad and concept testing are slow, costly & and inefficient. They also are almost universally reliant about cognitive approaches with very few really tapping into nonconscious models. We’d like to see a turnkey solution that would allow us to do a variety of test within a few days for a fraction of the standard costs, and to have the method incorporate best practices from behavioral science. Neuroscience & biometric based systems are promising, but don’t address the speed & cost issues we want to address.

10. True Multi-Platform Analysis for Kids’ Space

As digital natives, kids and teens are consuming media in more diverse ways than any other demo. It is crucial to understand how these groups are using technology to access content as they age into older demos and start to really impact the total universe. However, there is currently no analytics platform that tracks kid’s usage across multiple platforms. Something that could combine all of this data would be invaluable to gain a greater understanding of the way kids interact with content across all available screens and platforms.

11. Synthesis & User-Friendly Data Analysis Software

An completely customized insights platform that allows you integrate data from variety of different primary and syndicated research resources to draw insights in a holistic fashion. A lot of the mending and blending of data occurs manually and outside of an integrated effort resulting in only the story being told based on insights is only half as powerful or impactful. The system should have a user-friendly interface for SPSS non-users that can easily learn and use SPSS.

12. Biometrics, Facial Scanning, Neuro

Despite potential privacy concerns that we believe will be worked out on an individual level through robust opt-in and out ToS, technology gives us an ever increasing pipeline to scalable and inexpensive methods that can help uncover nonconscious drivers of human behavior and decision making. Tech like facial scanning, eye tracking (or simulated visual attention), biometric sensors, various neuro approaches, implicit techniques, etc…. can be used to help foster deeper engagement and increase the ability of brands to earn a relationship with consumers by catering to their personal behavior drivers. We want to see examples of how other brands are using these technologies as well as forward thinking by technology companies that are bringing them to market in globally scalable ways that can be deployed via smart devices, in-store set-ups, personal digital appliances, ad space, etc… Our ability to generate meaningful change in our organization and in our target markets will likely turn on how these data sources can be incorporated into our nascent predictive models and marketing mix approaches.

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5 responses to “Can You Deliver On The Top 12 Unmet Needs Of Insights Clients?

  1. Made me think I wonder what the 12 Unmet needs of suppliers are and what they need from their clients to do great work..maybe some kind of mind reading application? 😉

    1. Well, this is one of the ways we make that happen @Martin. We also use the IIeX events, GRIT report, and various and sundry blog posts, interviews, etc.. to be a conduit of information from clients to suppliers.

  2. This is a great commentary and analysis on the state of the art vs the state of the needed vs the state of the possible. A strategic mindset by industry practitioners is essential to transition from the recent past and practices to what is coming and needs to be embraced.

    Imran Anwar

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