By: Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Informa
Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and ultimately, the world. That’s why next in our Insights as a Vehicle for Influence series, we sat down with Ben Smithee, CEO of the Smithee Group. In our conversation, he shed some light on how research is changing in the digital age, how researchers can stay relevant in the changing insights space, why it’s important to be agile in market research, and more.
Here’s what Smithee had to say:
How are research operations teams changing in the digital age?
Smithee: I think the core change is the breadth and diversity of skill sets, paired with the speed and agility required of the team members. People are forced to know much more with the impact of digital/social, and a new mindset and skill set is required.
What is your advice to traditional researchers trying to stay relevant in the fast changing market research and consumer insights space?
Smithee: The biggest things are embracing change and staying up-to-date with content. Spending the first 30-minutes of your day consuming solid content on the current state of digital, decision intelligence, social, etc. is absolutely key! It’s how I stay on the front-end of what’s going on and important.
What is the best way to build a high performance team in today’s MRX world?
Smithee: Build a culture of adaptation and exploration. We still must provide excellence in intelligence and a trusted source for our clients and internal clients, but a high-performance team is one that embraces new and exploratory methods and strategies. The environment is changing so fast, you can’t always resort to a “proven” approach. The ability to embrace and execute in this manner requires a strong culture.
Why is it important to be an agile market research today?
Smithee: The consumer climate is changing too fast to not be agile. Decisions are needed in real-time or near real-time, and businesses require accurate but timely data and intelligence. This is true for both the qual and quant worlds. Time is a luxury, and there are so many more needs in today’s business environment. Being agile is truly a requirement.
How can a company create a research innovation culture?
Smithee: It really starts at the core. It’s not enough to talk about it or preach “innovation.” It has to be something that is truly integrated into a company’s culture. The unwillingness to just default to the old and traditional, and the insistence to continually ask "is this the best way” is imperative. Challenge your team members to learn. Support education, and spend on keeping your team at the top of their game. Organizations must truly invest in the future of their company, by investing in the future of their team members. Instill a culture of respectful challenging, and a more democratic approach. Make sure your younger team members have a voice, and make sure your seasoned team members stay up-to-date on the current topics and tactics.