5 Steps from Market Research to Insight

The spark of insight

How often do you attend a market research presentation at which the agency conducting the fieldwork makes a number of recommendations, which are then discussed? Every time I hope; if not, then perhaps you need to consider changing your agency.

Quite often a number of possible actions are discussed and the agency then leaves considering their job to be done; and everyone else goes back to their “day jobs”.

Caught up in the problems and opportunities of the daily routine, new findings or ideas are quite often quickly forgotten until the next need for information arises. Many companies regularly promote employees doing a good job, and no group seems to get more changes, more often, than the marketing teams. The problem with this is that every new br and manager or category director starts by asking some usually very valid questions about the market, the target customer, or the competition. The answer to such questions is then to run a market research study; and although the MR team hopefully mentions that a similar project was done in the recent past, the new marketing person will often claim that their needs are different or that the market has changed since their predecessor ordered the study, so a new one needs to be run.

Now this might be very true, but unfortunately in most cases, it is not. The market and its customers generally change much more slowly than marketing would like to believe or hopes. They believe that any positive changes have come from their (very recent) actions and not from previous work carried out before they arrived. Particularly when it comes to br and image and equity, changes are in general slow despite the promotions and communications planned over the year.

How do you stop this vicious circle of information gathering followed by inaction? How about starting with the end “in sight”?

#1. Defining the what and why

The business has a question about what is happening in the market or why. Rather than immediately briefing the market research group for a new piece of research, how about inviting them to run a workshop? Ask them to invite a number of people from different areas of the problem or opportunity identified. These might be from production, supply chain, sales, distribution, finance, operations, packaging or product development, in addition to marketing and insight teams. The objective is to get a team of people together with very different perspectives to set the framework of the question.

#2. Underst anding the what and why

When this group first meet, they should come prepared to talk about what facts and ideas they have about the topic, which should have already been pre-defined and mentioned in the invite. Ideally they should also have all had the chance to meet and spend time with the target customers in an appropriate environment and situation, relevant to the problem or opportunity previously identified. This will provide all participants with the most up-to-date view of current customer behaviour and opinions, which will serve as a precious background to the discussions held during the first workshop.

#3. Completing the information

Once all participants have had the chance to discuss the different pieces of information and perspectives, the market research and insight team should identify whether or not there is a need for further information before they start insight development. If this is the case, they agree with marketing what is needed and then conduct the information gathering in the most appropriate way.

#4. Developing the insight

The results of the additional information gathering are shared during another workshop and then the insight development process can start in earnest. Again the same participants as in the first workshop should be present, to continue to bring together all elements that might impact the deep insight development process.

#5. Identifying the actions

The final phase, which can often be completed in the same workshop as the insight development process, is the identification of appropriate actions. Having all interested parties discussing possible actions and agreeing on the most appropriate ones, ensures not only that they actually take place, but also that they are performed in a timely manner.

This may sound like a long-winded process, but I have seen it done in less than a day when the information was readily available, and within a couple of weeks when new information was gathered over the web. These group meetings are much more likely to deliver insight and actions than most other processes, as there is an agreed team responsibility.

Do you have a question or challenge about developing insights from information and knowledge? I am sure I can help; just contact me here and I’ll respond personally.

For more on Insight development, check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/

How do you turn information into insight and then into appropriate actions in the shortest and most efficient way? I would love to hear about your own winning processes.

C³Centricity sources images from Dreamstime.com

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