Insights in Market Research: 5 tips to get you thinking differently
In the market research industry the word “insight” has been thrown around freely and almost carelessly in a way that may cheapen its true meaning. When we show a graph and write in the title “purchase intent is high. 46% of consumers say they would purchase the product” we are only describing what the viewer is looking at. This is not providing insight. This is showing your audience that you can interpret a graph.
To provide true insight we need to look past the single data point in-front of us. Each data point is a building block of a larger story we are trying to tell. A true insight will relate the specific data point to the larger picture and provide your audience with a better understanding of the issue at hand. Here are 5 tips to help you think differently:
Look at your data
Before doing anything else, look at your data. Review the numbers, see if they make sense. There is no point in starting to place charts and graphs on a slide if you have no idea where you are going or what you are trying to say.
Each project has its own objectives and questions it is looking to answer or gain insights into. Lay out the results of the key questions first; whether they be core metrics, equity attributes or anything else. You should begin to see a pattern come to life. These will be your starting point. From there you can start developing a story and use the rest of your data to support the claims.
Place it in context
Purchase intent of 46% can be low or high depending on the context. If 46% of concert goers said they will buy tickets to the next show I would be worried; but if 46% represents Canadian drivers who said they will buy a specific automobile brand in the next 2 months, I’d be a very happy brand manager.
Don’t just report the numbers. Ask yourself: what is my playing field? What is this story about? Is it a story about a package’s performance on shelf? Is it about a new concept being tested? In what category are you operating? What about the competition? All these will help you be more insightful. It’s not that 46% of people say they would do something, maybe it’s about the 54% who said they would not? Maybe combining this data point with another seemingly unrelated one will give you the insight you are looking for.
Build your story
Once you have looked at the data and figured out where the story is, lay it out in chronological order. Start by setting the stage, introduce your characters, your plot, deliver the punch line and use the rest of the data to support your claim.
This is where you start brining your story to life. Once you have your story laid out, start working backwards. When writing and bringing your story to life, keep the end goal in sight. Remember, you are laying bread crumbs along the way and leading your audience to a conclusion. Each slide, data point should be able to stand by itself and relate to the bigger picture. Placing the content with the end in mind will make your story flow better, and make it insightful in a way that will deliver a strong coherent and data supported message.
Delivering insights is an art form
At the end of the day, providing insights is an art form. Standardized reporting tools only describe a specific data point in comparison to others (difference between categories or groups, over time, increase, decrease, etc…). This is where a researcher brings their talent to work. Just like any artist, a researcher can and should get creative in building a compelling, fact based story that provides “mental wisdom” that not only enlightens but also empowers action.