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Quality vs Quantity: The ‘TAO’ of Client Experiences

How many of us in the research industry are crafting experiences with our clients, collaborators and colleagues to be as effortless and magical as we’re telling them they need to be to their consumers?

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas Series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Catherine Rickwood will be speaking at IIeX North America (June 13-15 in Atlanta). If you liked this article, you’ll love IIeX North America.

Everyone is always busy. Consumers are too busy to watch ads, too busy to consider all the options, too busy to take it all in. They will gravitate towards brands that offer them the easy route, provide shortcuts to the information they need, use intuitive visual cues and streamline the whole consumer experience to be a flawless, magical journey; As a result, Marketers have been using these heuristics and other behavioral economics techniques to influence consumers for years (Welch, 2010).

But how many of us in the research industry apply these principles to what we’re delivering? How many of us are crafting experiences with our clients, collaborators, and colleagues to be as effortless and magical as we’re telling them they need to be to their consumers?

Our colleagues are also just as busy. Our colleagues will also want shortcuts to relevant information. We should be practicing what we preach and distilling the killer points to hit people over the head like the heavyweight game changers that they are; even if it’s a stop-everything, turn-your-world-upside-down insight, if it’s buried like a datapoint needle in a Powerpoint haystack, then it’s not going to have its moment.

Liberation can come in the form of short, sharp, sharable reports that we like to call ‘Snackables’. These are just one or two pages, visually appealing and easy to interpret. We’ve found this approach really effective both internally, to truly refine our recommendations and externally, in the value we’re then able to deliver to clients. For those struggling through long documents, here’s an acronym that can be useful for creating successful ‘Snackables’, based on a well-known Chinese word ‘Tao’, poignantly sometimes translated as ‘principle’:

1. Trust

You need to build a trusting partnership; often researchers can hide behind mountains of charts and tables to prove how much work they have done and to justify themselves. If you have put the work into the analysis – a huge part of which is this thinking as well as producing – then it will show through.

2. Audience

As with all deliverables, you need to know your audience. This is especially true if you’re distilling a huge piece of analysis into a few key points; will they be thinking about financials? Statistical significance? Translate accordingly to ensure the points hit home. <

3. Objective

Always, always refer back to the objective! Is this to answer a specific question, in which case, will a one-word answer get everyone’s attention? Or is the focus on creating something that’s so engaging it gets shared internally through different departments? Design the document with the objective at the top of your mind.

Sure, you’ve got to tell a coherent story and you do need to provide the relevant background information with this, but serving up a ‘snack’ before the main meal is a great way to build appetite with a tasty teaser. This should maximize your chances of making an impact, ultimately ensuring that the valuable golden nuggets within are digested and actioned. Happy snacking!


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