The more a piece of research is used, the greater the return on investment. One of the first benefits a market insights platform delivers is to make a research asset easy to search and upcycle. This extends the shelf life of your insights asset by transforming the annual research spend into a valuable and growing knowledge asset.
Research that takes too long to find is quickly lost and forgotten. Maybe the final results were saved on a SharePoint in a filing system no one knows how to navigate. Or the completed research projects were stored on the laptop of the person that commissioned them.
Every insights manager can share a tale of frustration about their efforts to find research they know their organization has conducted when it’s hiding in all the wrong places. They’ll also admit that when the research could not be found, they commissioned a new project to close the knowledge gap.
The good news? Providing a quick and easy way to find past research not only accelerates speed to insight across your business, but it also transforms your annual research spend into a valuable, multi-million-dollar asset.
We often ask new clients how much research they believe they could re-use if only they could find it, and hear consistent estimates across industries. Insights teams in CPG/FMCG, financial services, automotive, pharma and utilities agree that they could upcycle 80% of their research one year after results are delivered, 50% two years after and 30% in the third year.
Interestingly, the scope of re-use extended beyond major usage and attitude studies, where a shelf life of three years is usually expected. Even the most disposable forms of research, such as ad copy tests and concept tests, can be mined again and again to inform new decisions with past learnings.
So how does upcycling past research create an insights asset? In the diagram below, an insights team spends $5 million annually on new research projects. Of course, all the new research is used in the year it’s commissioned, when results are presented to the business and new learnings are shared amongst colleagues.
But the next year, with the power of an insights platform, 80% of those results can still be re-used, so the new $5 million budget can be focused on new insights, and the insights asset grows to $9 million. Lather, rinse and repeat to see how the asset more than doubles in three years, as all available resources are re-used and new research spend is focused on uncovering fresh insight.
In his opening keynote at TMRE 2019, Kirti Singh, Chief Insights & Analytics Officer at Proctor & Gamble, revealed that “the fastest way to deliver an insight to the business is to use the research we already own, on our First Stop Data Shop platform.” Their Market Logic powered platform drives a critical success factor for insights management: the need to “know what they know,” quickly.
Without an insights platform, insights managers are always on defence – reacting and supplying answers to stakeholder queries on an ongoing basis. Organizations continually sink their annual research spend in “disposable” research projects.
With an insights platform, the role of an insights manager can easily transform from one of hunter-gatherer to one of a storyteller. They can synthesize insights from all past knowledge in compelling stories, and the annual research budget swiftly accrues into a valuable insights asset.
As Sebastian Lion, VP Insights for Mars Pet Care worldwide, tells it: “When new researchers join my organization, they ask me what their budget is. I say ‘a $100 million insights asset on our Synapse platform, representing decades of pet care research.’ So every time the business asks a question, it’s their responsibility to mine that asset to deliver a comprehensive answer.”
If you’d like to calculate your insights asset, try this benchmark calculation: multiply the number of people in your team that perform custom research by ten projects per annum, at an annual cost per project of $30,000. Then factor the shelf life of an insight in your business to scope your potential asset.