Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting Insights Activated

Mainly due to my academia background, I find (too much) joy in stating statistical significance, where my sources come from, the theories and concepts that support my findings, and so on. As a Consumer Insights Analyst for a retailer, however, I find that executives have different perceptions of my self-perceived theoretical genius, and somewhat rambling, explanation of survey results. So, I looked to my boss for a little extra guidance through my transition to corporate culture of research reporting.

What I’ve learned, I’m glad to share: While my results may hold significance, they are not meaningful unless they can be understood and, more importantly, activated upon. While a hard transition to make, it’s a necessary one.

Here’s what we, as researchers, can do for the benefit of our respective businesses – tell a story. It’s about tying the data to the overall business problem (or objective) and walking the audience through the progression of consumer thinking and behaviors. I like to think of it as a movie… I’m not really interested in how the movie was made, how many man-hours it took to produce, or the demands of the actors. In the moment of watching the movie, I only care about the storyline. What has, what is, and what might happen. I care about the characters, where they might go, and how they evolve throughout the story. This is what we need to do with our research. The people that are able to activate the insights (executives) are the people that need the movie version of our research – to understand the overarching message.

There is much more that others can share about getting insights activated. Join us in Orlando this November for The Market Research Event!

Garrett McGuire is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, "The Journal of a mAD Man," that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

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