Earlier in the year, WFA and BrainJuicer looked at how marketing leaders perceive their consumer research and business insights counterparts. The results were not that pretty.
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#1 Grab a seat. According to WFA research, physical location correlates with better overall perception of the insights function by marketing and better engagement of the insights function in planning. You can also try more formal clinics or sessions, or virtual meetings, but these require constant innovation to stop drop off and are less engaging than simply being a few metres away.
#2 Unravel their data. Data tells you the how but not the why. That’s where insights teams come in. Aid marketing in understanding what their CRM, in-store, shopper, media consumption and competitive intelligence data is telling them. Interpret the details for them, but as one member said: “be aware that patterns do not always correlate to real trends: that’s where gut feeling comes in”.
#3 Deliver human truths. Building on the last point, it is useful to remember the difference between conducting research and delivering marketing and business insights. Marketers need insights that are actionable and relevant, but fundamentally the insights that will generate the most traction internally (just like marketing) are the ones that appeal on an emotional level and deliver against a human truth.
#4 Say what? Marketers are not always great at asking questions. If you find marketers ask for a type of research (e.g. focus groups), rather than present you with a business problem, then push back. Insights can help ask the question(s) in the most effective way, and this will also help you steward your physical and financial resources most effectively. Asking the right question is the most important part of research.
#5 “NEW!” The most powerful word in marketing. Set up exploratory projects that can help change marketing mindsets. These might be around new research methodologies, or they could explore new media partnerships or channels. When these types of research work best is when they are 1) future facing (“foresights, not insights”), 2) relevant across a broad business base (more brands = more potential users of it), and 3) showcase creativity and problem-solving (mixed methodologies, short-term, low budget, crowdsourced, etc.).
Our next INSIGHTFORUM meeting is on 10th November in London and we’ll be covering this topic and several others in more detail. For more information on this please contact Steve Lightfoot.