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When thinking of research, data and insights, it’s easy to assume it’s all numbers and data crunching and not much else. However, the role of a good insights consultant is to be able to translate this data into tangible and meaningful information that can then be easily presented to senior management, directors and the CEO.

The reason for this is that it’s this said data that should drive business decisions, strategy and all the way down to campaigns.

In the Insights2020 (research by Millward Brown Vermeer, Marketing Week and Market Research Society) it is reported that “the most successful companies are the ones where research, data and analytics drive customer centric decision making across the entire business”  

Companies that were classified as “over performing” in the study have an insight and analytics function “that either leads the business strategy or reports directly to CEO”

But as I said at the start, it’s not all about data crunching. The skills that characterise insight leaders are

  • Having business sense
  • Whole-brain thinking
  • Storytelling

So what does this mean? Firstly insights, whether social or not, are becoming increasingly crucial. No business decision should be made without them.

Secondly, carrying out research and insights is no longer a straight forward data, numbers analysis practise. It requires an all-round individual who has a good understanding of business practice, marketing, public relations and customer service. Companies essentially need an all-rounder with the ability to spot trends and patterns, and the ability to present these in an easy, digestible format.

A quote from Chris Clark, global head of marketing at HSBC on Marketing Week, clarifies the above perfectly:

“…insights and analytics leaders need are more complex than they used to be. “You’ve got to have someone who is analytical and can lay out all the facts and figures, but the real genius is someone who can do that and also say ‘here’s what we think is actually happening to human beings’,” he says.

“The ability for us to be able to find stories in our insight and data makes a difference to how effective we are [as brands], whether we’re campaigning, designing new products or anything like that.”

So if your business is looking to integrate insights into every day practice, here are a few tips on ensuring you are not doing insights just for insight sake.

  • Start out with your questions – what is it that you are looking to find? There is so much data available which makes it easy to get lost. Make sure you have a focused mind on what you are looking for.
  • On the flip side, don’t be too rigid. If you set out to write a report and you have specific headings to report on, this may limit your ability to find the true sparkles and golden nuggets of information.
  • When deciding what is valuable and what isn’t, or if you’re getting lost in the volume of data, ask yourself what does this actually mean for the business? Only highlight what is truly valuable to the business.
  • When producing reports, be succinct and tell your story. Don’t make it hard for the reader to read your report – it won’t be understood and your suggestions will be ignored. (Or you’ll be asked to re-do the work!)
  • Be inquisitive! When going back on your research, make sure you understand it fully and are not questioning it. If you are, it means you haven’t uncovered the whole meaning behind the data.

Source: Marketing Week 

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