Activate Your Research:
Four "Think-ahead" Steps for Elevating Insights to Actions

By Audrey Rosen

think aheadThe value in your research comes through the real-world actions it empowers. 

But not all research has this "activation" built in; it often takes planning and effort to create studies that naturally lead to decisions and implementation.  The steps involved can be deceptively simple and inexpensive; but, to gain maximum value, you need to understand and act on them early in the research process.

The result of thinking ahead is not just wiser decision making, but also exponentially greater value from your research dollars. Here are four steps to help your insights come alive.

Identify your study’s potential end users up front

Often the person or team commissioning the research represents just one of many potential user groups.  Your research partner should hold a brief kick-off meeting among all potential end users to flesh out the hypotheses and needs for the data. This way, your partner can be better informed and can make sure the design and survey instrument address the needs of all the users without burdening you with a lot of extra work.

Capture unexpected facets of your target market

In standard research, manufacturers frequently focus on core brand target groups – loyal or competitive brand buyers, for example – or on specific demos, such as moms with kids 6 to 12. While these can be excellent places to start, more is possible ... if you think ahead. 

What about the shopping perspective, for example? Often brand marketers see shopper insights as a separate universe; but, in today’s environment, understanding how Walmart and Target shoppers differ in their reactions to your new product idea or claims could not be more important.  You can use these findings not only to inform your marketing, but also to share with retail partners, demonstrating why your brand deserves a greater presence on their shelves. 

For OTC products, locating ailment sufferers is ground zero; but, thinking creatively, what other qualities might impact their use of non-prescription medicines?  If they don’t have insurance, for example, that could well lead them to avoid the doctor and prescription meds in favor of off-the-shelf solutions.

Finding the right audience, and then collecting the right information from them, can make the difference between research that merely confirms assumptions, and research that can point you in new, lucrative directions.

Consider the new options for studying Hispanics

Many companies are focused on Millennials; but did you know that 25% of the under- 18 population is Hispanics? If you are going after younger consumers, then Hispanics are also a natural target – and it’s now much easier and more cost effective to include even Spanish-speaking Hispanics in your research.

Plan to include a readable subsample of Latinos in your study, so you can see how they think about and use your products in different ways from the non-Hispanic population.  You might also want to go a step further, and study the gradations within the Hispanic community – countries of origin, dialects spoken, and more.

A little analytics can go a long way

From KN’s point of view, an analytics plan is a key part of project planning.  What techniques could bring added depth and actionability to your findings, perhaps at a modest cost?  By planning analytics involvement from the onset of a study, you can bring greater efficiency to the process and end up with a design that provides the answers that you need.

Remember – analytics don’t have to be expensive or time consuming. An easy factor analysis shows the criteria shoppers use to make retailer decisions.  A quick regression analysis identifies brand choice drivers to focus on.  MaxDiff is a cost effective way to prioritize options, and perceptual maps identify hidden opportunities. 

Through KN’s KnowledgeFocus analytic suite (described elsewhere in this issue), we can add small-scale analytical tasks to many custom projects, bringing unexpected depth and insight.

Good partners help you think ahead

The discipline of simple planning can have a powerful effect on the destiny of your research – whether it will lie on a shelf or come to life as a blueprint for action.  Thinking ahead is easier with a partner who understands your research and marketing challenges: the competition, the category, and the budget constraints.  It allows you to do a better job of answering your own most important questions, with the greatest accuracy and efficiency. 

Let KN help you take on this process and make your next study a winner!

audrey rosenAudrey Rosen is Executive Vice President of Knowledge Networks and leads
the CPG/Retail business unit.       

For more information, contact:

Audrey Rosen
646 742-5323

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