How to Think About ‘Insight’ for Real Business Impact

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Posted Feb 24, 2021
Tiffany Mullin

The proliferation of consumer insights technology has given stakeholders access to an increasingly complex data landscape while significantly altering the role of the market researcher.

Thanks to technology, conducting qualitative research such as in-depth interviews or quantitative studies like concept tests are fairly straightforward compared with what researchers face upon returning to their workspaces.

They’re often met with piles of structured and unstructured data from half a dozen or more various sources. The tricky part is knowing what to do with all the data and how to turn it into something meaningful.

What is an Insight?

The ultimate goal is to identify true insights instead of simply reporting the facts. Research outputs built around core insights compel design teams to empathize with consumers, creating deeply impactful products, packaging, ad copy, and more.

Depending on specific background and experience, the term “insight” may mean different things to different people. To formal business traditionalists, insight generally needs to be ownable, and measurable, and uniquely deliver competitive advantage.

This classical vision of insight is certainly great if you can pull it off. However, in light of the speed at which business is conducted today, this type of insight is often impractical. The vast amounts of time needed to generate, analyze, and identify this kind of insight is simply out of sync with the pace of business today.

In a world in which computers and automation have driven the speed of business to extreme velocities, access to massive amounts of consumer data has some business analysts seeing insight everywhere. But maybe it’s just a good piece of data or a fun fact that’s headed in the right direction.

So, how can we whittle this data down to essential and actionable information that will generate full insight and actually produce results?

Insight as a Point of Business Leverage

Sarah Snudden, aytm’s VP of Digital Transformation and former CPG insider says, “Modern researchers should consider approaching insights as a point for real business action, as leverage, as something that helps move the brand forward in a big, bold way.”

In short, “insight as leverage” is limited to data that is grounded in reality, connected to one or more specific goals, and (perhaps most importantly) fully active.

The key is to make sense of the data and convert it into actionable insights and trends for the brand. At the end of the day, everything should map back to the business goals.

Whether it’s revenue, customer experience, marketing ROI, or an increase in new customers, it’s critical that researchers understand the final business objectives and consider them while analyzing the data.

There are three advantages to thinking about insights in this way.

1. Insight as a point of business leverage means that it’s grounded in something. In order to have leverage, there needs to be a connection, so it’s contextual. Researchers need to look at what consumers see through the lens they see it through and everything around it.

2. It shows how you’re trying to connect insight to do something, drive something, or accomplish something.

3. This idea of insights is active; there’s real movement and velocity. And ultimately, that’s what we’ve always wanted insights to be.

Activating Insights

Once a true insight is uncovered, researchers must know how to activate it effectively. By mastering the art of conveying insights through data storytelling and learning creative and engaging ways to capture stakeholders’ attention in a competitive environment, researchers can inspire and empower them to put their insights to work in the business.

Due to the high value placed on rapid movement, insight leverage and other agile consumer insights are particularly useful to small and mid-sized organizations that are lean enough to adapt on the fly and really hustle.

Researchers can help keep these organizations humming along by inserting just the data pieces needed with the speed at which they need them. Ultimately, smaller companies can use size to their advantage as they compete with bigger players and those who may not be as nimble.

Making an Impact

Using agile insights with a focus on design thinking, companies can back up qualitative information gathered through direct human interaction with validating quantitative data provided by agile market research platforms. This is a great way to strategically target consumers and drive overall company growth, as long as it happens both efficiently and quickly.

In addition to giving brands the power to optimize through innovation, agile market research platforms can help you test, evaluate, iterate, or retool your innovative ideas.

By carefully honing the skills above and partnering with the right platform, insights professionals can become more agile, increasing their influence and leveling-up their role as trusted strategic advisors for their stakeholders, confidently leveraging insights to optimize recommendations, cultivate consumer trust, and drive real business impact.

Find out how you can increase the influence of your insights department. Download our white paper. 👇🏾

*This article was originally published by GreenBook.

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