As of 2021, 73% of brands in Europe have an in-house team, with 63% saying they’ve seen a positive change in ROI since in-housing.
But with a rapidly-changing consumer world to tackle (thanks COVID), the race to move consumer research in-house to achieve greater business growth is heating up. Let’s remind ourselves why.
1. Consumers have changed, and brands need to too. If you’re thinking about in-housing parts of strategy or media planning, you’re already committed to knowing how your target consumers tick and what you need to do to engage them.
2. Insight is king. Every forward-thinking brand knows consumer-centricity is key – and can only be done by putting deep insight in the driving seat.
3. Great tech is finally available. Today’s brands are able to take full ownership of their strategy, which means they have a much more controlled view of things like spend, talent, and outcome.
4. It’s all about strategic thinking. Having robust, reliable, and up-to-date consumer data in-house means you’re consumer-centric from end to end – you basically know what will work before you do it.
5. Agencies and brands are redefining their relationship. Almost everyone agrees this is not a binary choice: it’s not the end of agencies – far from it. Brands are learning from them instead, using their skills and experience to get better results.
How to find your perfect research partner
You have all the ideas and requirements – but who’s going to be able to keep up with them?
When moving audience research in-house, the big challenge lies in knowing what research partner ticks all the boxes for you. Here are some of the big ones to keep an eye out for.
1. A subscription-based platform
The days of a fixed annual planning cycle based around previous years’ research are long gone.
With a 100% online approach, data providers of today are offering up insight on tap.
No more waiting for big research projects to turn around – with a subscription-based, highly intuitive platform you can get the insight you need when you need it. It doesn’t get more agile than that.
For example: Over a third of decision-makers in the workplace typically consider a new product or service based on how much it’ll improve efficiency or processes in their company. If a brand is looking to react fast to, for example, the changing landscape of its audience post-pandemic, having access to a one-stop-shop of fast data will drastically cut turnaround times.
2. Sharable dashboards
Consistently keeping all your people on the same page is a struggle at the best of times. To keep all eyes on the prize, you need to be able to share key consumer research in a format that will engage and be easily parsed.
In a world where insight is everything, everyone should be able to see and use it – whether they’re a researcher or not.
Instantly sharable dashboards are a quick way to hand the power of data to anyone who needs it, regardless of their skill level or area of expertise.
For example: 27% of working professionals say keeping teams aligned is one of the biggest challenges their company is currently facing. When you share one consistent view of your audience or market, your teams all have one narrative and know who they’re going after and how to do it.
3. The data you really need
What’s the point of being able to share consumer data if it’s not fit for purpose? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fast or up-to-date your research is if it’s not up to the job.
Today, your consumer data should indicate things like:
- Personality and lifestyle types: How would they describe themselves and their lifestyle?
- Self-perceptions: Which attributes do they say they possess?
- Desires: What do they want for themselves in life?
- Values and opinions: Where do they place their energy and trust?
- Touchpoints: Find out the relative importance of brand.com vs. search or social.
- Channels and platforms: How can I optimize for the likes of TikTok and Instagram?
- Online vs. offline shopping: What objectives do I need to get the right outcome?
With modern audience research, you get the kind of insight that will guide your strategy in everything from content ideas and volume to making all-important business decisions, all with a global perspective. At this point, you really should expect nothing less.
For example: 45% of working professionals say it’s difficult for them to access the latest information or data they need to do their job. Without having the tools to succeed, any brand looking to have a data-driven, truly targeted strategy will be fumbling in the dark.
4. Custom capabilities to fill gaps
Any go-to platform will have certain gaps – after all, every brand that uses it is unique, and faces unique challenges. But there’s an easy way to work around this.
A research partner worth its salt will have a custom arm, where you’ll work together to run tailored market research that’s shaped around you.
With GWI, you can use our customized surveys and analytics to speak to our global panel of consumers, asking anything you want.
For example: 51% of affluent consumers don’t follow luxury brands on social media. This was the insight, uncovered through a custom research study done with GWI, that led luxury creative and performance agency, VERB Brands, to a 36% boost in high quality leads with the right quality research.
5. Tools that will attract top talent
A sometimes-overlooked bonus of using the top-of-the-line tools to generate great business is the talent you’ll attract along the way.
When you want the best to join your company, you need to prove you’re the best too.
With a market-leading research platform at hand for every employee regardless of department or hierarchy, you’re showing that you prioritize business-wide insight into your target consumers and overarching strategy.
For example: 71% of working professionals who are satisfied with their workplace feel they have the tools in place to adapt quickly to industry changes, compared to only 36% of those who are dissatisfied. Keeping up in a rapidly-changing world is clearly a point of priority, and offering that security and opportunity is key to secure great team members.
The power of having the right research partner
We’ll keep saying it – consumer attitudes and behaviors are changing fast, creating a bigger need for quick, reliable insight than ever before. When your research is in-house, you need to be able to trust it will be easily understood and yield the right decisions.
A great research partner is one that ticks all the boxes you need it to.
It gives you the reassurance that no matter what else the world throws at you, at least you know exactly how it’s impacting your consumers’ actions and thoughts.
*Unless otherwise specified, all stats are from wave 3 2021 of GWI Work.