In the previous post we have discussed the value of the storytelling and consumer models for the activation of the consumer insights and business recommendations. Sometimes these approaches are treated too straightforward by the insights professionals. Hence, in order to achieve immediate business impact researchers start omitting all valuable research findings that can’t be put into action straight away.
Such research learnings become labeled as “nice to know” and don’t get proper consideration neither from insights professionals, nor from their business partners. O. Mahmoud (2006) in his book “The Boots & The Tower. Actionable Market Research” highlights one important business watch-out associated with this approach.
“All companies seek information that immediately leads to action. But such information is usually available to everyone else. The so called insights are often simple facts and factoids (bits of specific facts that spread in an environment for no clear purpose) about the consumer” (Mahmoud, 2006). This is related with the fact that “Knowledge itself is becoming a commodity. Similar to products, research processes and methodologies are becoming generic, although, similar to brands, they might carry different labels” (Mahmoud, 2006).
Therefore, Mahmoud (2006) concludes that “to have a competitive knowledge edge, researchers must search where others are not treading. But such a search carries with it many risks. The search may only lead to dead ends, the relevance of unusual information isn’t immediately obvious, and requires the effort of thinking, interpretation, and linking together to other areas of knowledge“.
From my experience, there are two principle ways to activate “nice to know” research findings.
Storytelling approach can be also applied to “nice to know” research findings. The developed story will become ready to use in the most suitable business conversation. This is the way how I approached the insights on the dads and their role in the family routines. It that case I had prepared few slides with one simple story to be able to share it in one click during the meetings when related question arose. So, several times during the review meetings some marketing managers were asking: “Ah, by the way, do you know anything about dads?”. Being prepared with the simple story I was able not just to say “I know”, but also to provide a holistic insight which eventually was taken into action.
Another way is to store “nice to know” learnings as the backup information before one day the initial research finding isn’t turned into a solid insight combined with several further studies and considerations (within one learning plan, or even with the studies conducted for other countries or brands). In this case it happened with the learnings that I had collected on the shoppers perception of the different store chains within one trade channel. After several studies and analysis had been done, those bits of “nice to know” learnings were turned into one holistic story which eventually became a core of the Joint Business Planning with the different retailers.
Sources: Mahmoud, O. (2006). The Boots & The Tower. Actionable Market Research. [pdf].