It was great to roll up our sleeves with other researchers at EphMRA’s meeting this week to work through solutions to current industry challenges. For our presentation, we picked the topic of how to make insights ‘stickier’ and more relevant to brand teams – a way of thinking that is foundational to W2O and reflected in our consultative, integrated approach. If our insights don’t thread through to practical outcomes for our clients, then we are simply not hitting the mark and might as well put on our coats and go home!
One recurrent theme that we heard from other attendees is about how siloed structures can be a barrier to effective insights, meaning on one hand that insights, once produced, may get ‘lost’ in the business. It was also apparent that, too often, research teams operate in isolation from their colleagues for whose benefit the research is ultimately intended – making it hard to produce outcomes that are business-aligned and actionable. This is a common, and deflating, refrain amongst the research community.
For our part, we shared tips that we believe can make all the difference. A selection of these follows:
1. Think Like a Consultant
It’s no longer enough to just be a researcher. To get through to our time-poor clients we have learned to start with the end in mind, get right to the point and tell stories backwards. We know no one has the time for 100+ slides and so we are relentless in our approach to front-load our presentations with the insights that matter most.
2. Triangulate, Measure and Frame
The worlds of market research and analytics are increasingly colliding and we are seeing the best way to validate insights, especially at scale and over time, is to triangulate across sources. Insights that are robust are persuasive. If brand teams believe in them they will design their engagement plans using them. It sounds like a simple principle, but it remains difficult to work out which insights will frame what we call the ‘money slides’ in the read-out without truly engaging with the brand teams and asking them what specific data they need.
3. Effective Data Storytelling
Stories have many dimensions. In terms of content, stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Using a framework like the classic hero’s journey can help bring an element of drama to your presentation. The experience of the story is important to how ‘sticky’ it is as well. Compelling data, imagery and data visualisation all play a role. Even something as simple as the layout on the slide matters too. We have found that keeping charts clean and removing the noise keeps the focus on what is most important.
4. Interactive Formats Sustain Interest
Going one step further and allowing our clients to explore the data themselves with filters or animation which shows how the it unfolds over time has greatly added interest and stickiness to the experience of interacting with insights.
5. Seek Opportunities to PR the Value of Insights
Thinking beyond lunch-and-learns (though we like these too) to ways to highlight innovative approaches and get our clients gathered together to help us all solve problems is always valuable and we encouraged the attendees to consider ways they can do that to shout about the value they bring to the organisation in their own roles.
To close our presentation we asked the audience for their views on which of the ways in their experience made the most difference to the ‘stickiness’ of insights and their potential to endure over time.
The results below appear to reflect a strong desire in the pharmaceutical market research industry to move outside of their swim lane and to step up into more of a consultative role. Learning to tell better and more strategic stories about the insights that we reveal is a key element of that journey and one that we pledge to continue to pioneer with gusto at W2O.
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