For those of us in market research, we’ve been here before: your client comes to you with their burning questions and looks to you for answers.
You listen, understand, then set about designing an approach to getting them what they need. We have a lot of tools in our toolchest to work with, and some solutions mean combining tools to get all the needed insights. But this can be tricky, and we have to be focused on making sure that we are delivering a program that is worth more than the sum of its parts.
These requests sound like this:
“We need to figure out which types of customers would be most interested in our new service, and why they have not signed up yet”
“We have noticed the emergence of a new kind of competitor – what can we learn about them and how big of a threat are they really?”
“Which combination of features should we include in the initial launch of our new product, and how will people feel about it coming from us?”
While it can be tempting for a client to seek out all these answers from one survey or study, the real depth of answers they are looking for comes from a combination of sources. There are a few considerations you need to weigh in order to craft the right solution for them:
- What do they already know or have access to?
- Who is the audience for this answer?
- In what form do they need to hear the answers to be able to buy in and plan their next steps?
- What type of stakeholder audience is this – do they respond well to quantitative data or do they look for personas/illustrations/testimonials?
- How much time do they have?
We face these kinds of challenges all the time and have delivered many successful solutions to our clients. The key is to be able to integrate the many different types of insights that are available like:
- Understanding of learnings from existing research
- Aggregation and analysis of existing secondary research
- Perspectives from experts in the industry
- Qualitative exploration, and…
- Quantitative measurement
It’s not all about the survey
Even if you never do a survey, there is a lot you can learn. Has their organization done previous similar or adjacent research? What is available from secondary sources that can shape or form this topic? Who could we talk to that could provide relevant insights for the client?
A good researcher will not just look at your questions and apply their ready-made solutions. They will understand what is out there, how to combine each resource, and integrate everything to present you with the answers you need.
A Compound Solution
To bring this to life, I want to share with you an example of work that we did recently for a client who was looking to understand what their network of agents needed to be able to increase their sell-through rates for property and casualty insurance policies – and then needed help creating the content for delivering it.
Working with the client, we developed a four-phase engagement that took them step by step to their goal:
Phase 1: Market Assessment & Customer Usage Analysis
We started by synthesizing existing research from the client – prior primary studies they conducted, plus syndicated and thought leadership content we had had. At the same time, we enriched their customer transactional data with media and consumer variables from our Audience Intelligence team to understand the ways in which their customer behaviors and profiles could help them target customers.
Phase 2: Digital Hives
We stood up two of our Digital Hives online communities – one with all consumers and one with all insurance agents. We spent three days with each Hive, exploring perceptions, needs, preferences, and ideas about P&C insurance, and how the purchase journey unfolds.
Phase 3: Prioritizing and Profiling
With new understanding of the key elements of the purchase journey for consumers and agents, we launched two online surveys (one for each audience) to quantify and prioritize the elements of the process and allow us to profile potential target consumers and agents for new communications, education and collateral.
Phase 4: Concept Development
With insights from existing research, the Hives, and the survey, we hosted a strategy work session with key members of our client’s organization and the Big Village teams to develop value propositions and experience playbooks that would inform the development of communications and digital experiences for agents in the sales process.
The key to making this combination of tools come together was a team structure and process we use to ensure that all phases of the work are integrated with, informed by, and build off the other phases. For the clients, this means programs like this are led by a program manager that oversees all phases and is a single point of contact throughout the engagement. And success means a client not only sees the answers to questions that we asked but is brought along a journey that takes what they already know, builds on it, expands it, and brings them to conclusions themselves.
There are so many different sources of information and insights available today, and so much work to integrate all of it to be able to even identify what you need to know. Finding a partner that will be able to synthesize off of it for you and home in on what is not yet known – then be able to uncover it for you – is invaluable. Contact us to get answers.
Written by Margaret Rorick, SVP Insights at Big Village