During our recent client roundtable, “Best Practices for Activating Strategic Research,” our panelists shared the strategies they’ve developed for making the most out of the research they commission internally and externally.
Paul Donagher, Director of Client Services at Radius welcomed Maritza DiSciullo, who is Senior Director of Consumer Insights at Brightspeed, Kate Schmitz, Chief Marketing Officer at Pinnacol Assurance, and Dom Ricchetti, Senior Staff Researcher at ServiceNow. The discussion was moderated by Bari Weinhausen, Director of Qualitative Research for Radius.
Paul and Bari asked about the business issues that drive the need for strategic primary research, and the elements that make strategic research successful and actionable. The discussion revealed the role that activation plays in the overall strategic research process for all three companies, with some helpful input on how important it is to foster communication from the start to ensure research insights have the best chance to play a key role in growth opportunities.
Below is a quick recap of the top five moments from the webinar — or watch the replay below to hear how the three panelists get the most out of their research budget, and the strategies they use to ensure the research is activated.
1. How are you using research?
One challenge for Pinnacol Assurance is market size — the company is limited to selling in Colorado, which means Kate must carefully choose how often she goes to market for research. “We use the research to understand the customers we don’t have yet and then take those learnings to develop messaging and identify where the opportunity is.”
Research also informs new product development for Pinnacol. “As we start to add features to the product, we reference research to identify the features that will be most meaningful and help us increase our market share.”
At Brightspeed, Maritza DiSciullo is challenged with managing a new launch that feels like a startup. “Research we’re doing needs to be relevant to the consumer Insights team, which includes marketing, research, customer experience analysis, and competitive intelligence,” notes Maritza. “We are doing a lot of research around brand development and trying to understand the best ways to position the products moving forward.”
Dom Ricchetti is focused on ServiceNow’s next product improvements, particularly concepts and features for the roadmap. “Sometimes business units are really struggling with a product strategy, looking at a three-year roadmap to understand what some major decisions might be and how they might really innovate and expand from where they’re at today in the marketplace.”
2. Is your research resonating?
Kate talked about consumer sentiment research she had done to understand which attributes are most important. She uses research results to create campaign messaging that lines up with what the research shows is most important to customers. “We’ve also done some powerful segmentation work that helps us to really understand our various audiences and then we can tailor a message to each of those segments.”
Dom is focused on working through different areas of ServiceNow’s business functionality, and finds the research he’s done to be helpful from a jobs-to-be-done perspective. “Some of the major foundational projects we’re working on benefit from segmentation of jobs and looking at our different users.”
3. What are some best practices you use?
Maritza’s perspective on best practices was echoed by all three panelists: Get buy-in. “If you are going to be conducting a highly strategic research study, and you want it to be positively received and used throughout your organization, getting buy-in from your stakeholders prior to launching the study is crucial,” she said, adding, “You want them to be on board with what you’re doing, with what the objectives are going to be and how you’re going to be going out and collecting your information to begin with. If you do that ahead of time, then when you go to share the research people will be anticipating it and might be excited to get the results.”
If you are going to be conducting a highly strategic research study, and you want it to be positively received and used throughout your organization, getting buy-in from your stakeholders prior to launching the study is crucial.”
—Maritza DiSciullo, Senior Director of Consumer Insights at Brightspeed
4. What does activation mean to your organization, and how you sell it internally?
Team input is critical for Kate. “We bring people into a room and say, ‘here’s the question we were trying to answer and here’s how we answered it. How would you use this in your day-to-day? What would be helpful as you think about the way that you interact with our customers, how could we surface this information in a way that it’s meaningful for you?’ And that approach has worked well over the years.”
For Dom’s team, a key tool is the Executive Summary slides, visuals, and infographics from the research study. “Having those tools so you can communicate the key points in a visual story format around the critical insights shows what needs to be done most, and that makes it easy for people to understand.” Dom says these key elements are what people remember and continue to reference.
5. How does your research partner support activation?
The Executive Summary is important, but Maritza also appreciates how a good research partner will conduct individual roadshows with teams who are going to be implementing the research results. “It’s very effective,” she says, “and that way you can answer direct and specific questions that might impact that team. You can also get your list of follow-up questions that they might have and go back to them with even more information.”
Learn more about our approach to activation — schedule a call with us today.