Best Practices

Bring Your Research to Life for Better ROI

 2021/10/analyst-245.jpg Rear view of young analyst sitting at the table in front of computer monitor with financial charts and analyzing it at office
Rear view of young analyst sitting at the table in front of computer monitor with financial charts and analyzing it at office

In 2019, global spending on market research was almost 50 billion dollars, with over 40% of that spend in North America. If we take into account the salary dollars and opportunity costs spent by companies in administrating research and activating results, total costs climb astronomically, making return on investment critical.

As we all know, the primary purpose of market research is to help companies make more informed decisions that lead to business growth. But there are many potential pitfalls that can degrade the value of research investment between the initial design of research and its successful activation within the organization. Maximizing your research investment to avoid these pitfalls requires that you have:

  • A well-defined business question to be answered through research
  • A design that effectively answers the business question
  • Integrity in research operations leading to valid data
  • Accurate and actionable interpretation of results
  • Activation of results that can be effectively consumed by key stakeholders and integrated into the organization

If any of these steps is compromised, so too is ROI.

In many companies, there have historically been functional boundaries between insights organizations and marketing professionals.  This tends to come from challenges related to communicating results in ways that enable true understanding and actioning. We all remember, and at times still see, reports from market research providers that are too long, not engaging, or are less than compelling to key stakeholders.

This is where human psychology comes in. It doesn’t matter how much money has been spent – if results are not brought to life, then those needing to act on the information may not do so. This leads to no clear ROI from the research.

Below are three principles that we live to ensure your insights hit home and deliver maximum ROI for your business:

1. Deliver stories, not “data.”

We are all naturally wired to get immersed in well-told stories. Most people don’t extrapolate meaning from numbers, charts and graphs, and don’t like to spend effort on interpretation. Make it easy to understand.

2. Ensure that presentations are graphically engaging.

A well-told story supported by data is not enough. The reason a picture is worth a thousand words (or data points) is because we interpret holistically much faster than iteratively, and let’s face it, engaging imagery is more pleasurable to take in.

3. Bring results to life with actual people, your customers, whenever possible.

Particularly with more strategic or other higher-investment engagements, follow-up team experiences with actual consumers through qualitative research is the best way to bring results to life. In this way, results are more believable than presentations, and allow clients to direct marketing efforts to people, not more abstract “targets,” “consumers,” or “customers.”

Want to discuss more about how to use these guidelines with your marketing and insights teams? 

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