In a previous blog I wrote about the very interesting project ‘The future of Insights’. For market researchers, this report contains a clear message. More proactivity, inventiveness and ultimately impact is expected from us. That’s nothing new, but the study reveals how we can achieve this. In this blog, I discuss some things we market researchers can do with the recommendations in the report. As a result: market research with more impact.
4 ways to achieve more impact
But how do we achieve this, more impact? Four areas of improvement have been identified by the researchers behind the ‘Future of insights’ project. These are based on what marketeers and market researchers already are excited about, but also on the frustrations they encounter in their daily work.
1. INTEGRATION: Bringing Insights and Marketing closer together, organizationally and Physically.
From my own experience, I know this works. When I joined Pepsi as a market researcher, the insights team was located in the far corner of the office building. Although on the same floor as the marketing team, there clearly was a physical distance. But then the building was converted and we temporarily moved to another building. There we were all on the same large open floor, marketeers and market researchers. As a result, we as researchers understood much better what the marketeers were actually doing. And the threshold to stop by for a quick question was a lot smaller. And that enabled us to take the proactive role that was expected from us, for example by sharing insights from previous research and to propose studies before the marketeers even thought about conducting market research
2. PEOPLE: Hiring and rewarding great people and leaders within the Insights function.
Of course, we need good market researchers. But the interesting thing about this point is that market researcher is often a starter job. The agency researcher’s route to business researcher to a non-market research job is followed too frequent. This means talented people are lost for our field of work. When I went to Pepsi, I wanted to be a marketer as well. But I realized quickly that market research is a lot more fun than marketing (for me at least). But honestly, after a few years as a market researcher, you’ve seen all research methodologies and worked on all possible marketing issues. It’s important to find ways for young market researchers to keep growing in their job, thus keeping working in the area of insights interesting enough.
3. CLARITY: To solve the problems Insight’s leaders have, greater clarity of role and decision-making process is needed – and fewer silos.
This point seems like an open door, but it’s on the list for a reason. As a market researcher, especially as an agency-side researcher, it is often difficult to know exactly who decides what based on the outcomes of the studies you are working on. By making a thorough, clear analysis of the problem the marketeer has and the context in which the problem has arisen, the market researcher provides the necessary focus and clarity. By making the decisions that one wants to take based on research clear, you can make sure that the research provides exactly the right information needed to make those decisions. About this I wrote the blog earlier, “The one question that every market researcher should ask”.
4. FOCUS: To solve the issues Senior marketers have, the Insights function has to display a strong commercial focus and work harder to go beyond the basics in analysis.
This point closely resembles the previous one. For each completed market research study it must be clear what it contributes to the (commercial) objectives of the client. And while it is sometimes difficult to demonstrate this contribution, the realization that market research must contribute to commercial and organizational goals should always be present. A relatively simple, but unusual way for many market researchers is to set-up a business case for each market research project. By showing the commercial impact of doing a particular market research, you can always demonstrate the added value.
Implementing these four points will definitely help market researchers to attain more impact. But will it be enough to solve the gap between what marketeers expect from market researchers and what they get? I can anyone who is involved with research in his daily life, wholeheartedly recommend reading the report on the future of Insights.