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How do you collaborate with your research agency?

How do you collaborate with your research agency?
Generating Insights

How do you collaborate with your research agency?

A few weeks back, one of our clients described the portal they used to store past research as a decommissioned amusement park. A sad but striking metaphor when you think about all the hope and excitement that goes into setting up a new research portal, and the disappointment and frustration that inevitably follows as the content ages and usage dwindles to nothing. Research managers see declining usage numbers and stop uploading new results. Marketers get the same old research results when they remember to search the portal, so start looking elsewhere for the good stuff.

Why does this happen? One of the realities we see across our user communities is that the insights managers who generate new research and insights are entirely focused on doing exactly that. If you figure that a researcher in a large consumer organization executes 10 – 15 research projects every year, it’s not hard to imagine that as soon as the results from one research project have been presented to the business, it’s time to get busy with the next. So, who has the time and motivation to upload results to the insights platform?

Why not the research agency? They want to prove ROI on the client’s research spend, by delivering compelling insights that are referenced again and again. Having spent a few years on the agency side delivering results to clients, I can attest to that.

There’s nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into a research project for a client, aha moments in the fieldwork, telling the story in the final deck, sending it through to the client and then … nothing – your work isn’t used. It’s far better to know that the results you poured your heart into will be seen again and again, by the entire marketing community, whenever they ask themselves a question about your topic, which will drive repeat business, of course.

The most frustrating experience I had to deal with was brand managers who changed so often, which means that the same fundamental research was conducted again and again rather than building upon already known consumer behaviours – your work isn’t recognized or appreciated.

Richard Davies, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at Newell Brands is unique amongst CMOs as a career researcher with a relentless passion for insight-driven marketing. He shared these learnings from tasking his agencies to upload results to their insights platform. “We were very honest and said to each supplier: if your research is accessible and if it’s used daily by people, the likelihood of you getting a repeat purchase in three years goes up exponentially.

If your research is never used, you’re not going to get the repeat purchase. You’re not going to get people coming back in three years saying ‘can we do a follow up on this?’ So, it’s absolutely in the best interest of research agencies to engage in this collaboration and to do the work which allows us to pre-code the insights that then feed the search engine and go forward.”

When I think about the time and effort I invested in the final decks that brought the research results to life for my clients, and the 15 – 20 minute invest it takes to upload results to an insights engine so every marketer in my client’s organization can reap the benefits, why not have the research agencies do all the heavy lifting instead?

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