There’s a reason why the role of research and insight professionals is growing in importance – in every sphere of a business. 

Without a solid, definitive and reliable understanding of the consumer you’re trying to target, there’s no point in trying. And making sure your customer is at the center of your business requires one thing: data.

But a common concern for most is ‘data overload’. So what’s the best way to uncover an insight amid all this data that will actually make a difference? 

Agencies, brands and media organizations alike undertake this job on a daily basis, but every research professional has their own way of doing things.

One thing they agree on: not all research will give you the same quality insight – it’s about knowing what to look for.

These five research and insight pros share their lessons on what uncovering a crucial insight is all about.

1. City Football Group: it’s about telling a good story.

CFG owns eight clubs around the world, including its flagship club, Manchester City.

For the Business Intelligence team, finding ways to maximize and drive revenue is key. “Creating impactful and authentic partnerships with other businesses is our number one target”, says Pasi Lankinen, VP Partnership Strategy and Operations at City Football Group.

“We speak to a vast number of brands a year across all of our markets and clubs, so we need a story that stands out”, he says. 

They do this with ready access to attitudinal and psychographic consumer insight – insight that goes beyond what most brands are used to seeing.

“We use this data to form a narrative to position ourselves as strongly as possible with potential partners”, says Pasi.

Read the full story.

2. Bigeye: it’s about painting a picture of your audience.

Florida-based, independent advertising agency, Bigeye, works with everyone from emerging startups to established brands. With increasing competition, their goal is always finding ways to stand out. 

They do this by investing in targeting tools that let them go as granular as they can possibly go.

 “We had to learn how to articulate an audience in greater detail, and bring this to life in our pitches”, says Liliana Cerquozzi, New Business Specialist at Bigeye.

“It was really targeting those small, local audiences where we struggled the most,” she says. “We were looking for a tool that could give us the insights we needed to understand audiences in depth – including ones that were a bit more niche.”

“We like to paint a picture of who this person could be. Then, we build out our creatives and digital strategies to fit that framework.”

Read the full story.

3. BuzzFeed: it’s about finding the right perceptions to challenge.

1 in 2 internet users between 18-34 in the U.S. engage with BuzzFeed on a monthly basis. But is this the only audience they attract?

For the insights team, their goal is to show prove how far and wide their audience actually stretches – appealing to new kinds of potential advertising partners.

“We don’t just speak to millennials”, says Jackie Lundblad, Head of International Insights. “GlobalWebIndex helps us prove that we have a more diverse, wide-ranging audience than you may think.”

Using harmonized data across 46 markets, the team could prove BuzzFeed’s widespread appeal. Being able to then analyze these audiences in-depth, it meant not only proving their reach, but their unparalleled knowledge on their various audiences.

“With this, we could fill in the blanks around who these people were to help us better understand how they act and think when making important decisions.”

Read the full story.

4. Blizzard: it’s about getting a true view of market potential.

For the premier developer of entertainment software, Blizzard, commercial partnerships are a big revenue driver.

But for sales teams looking to close a deal, they need a narrative that stands out – one that’s supported by hard data. At Blizzard, it’s the strategy and analytics team that help craft these stories.

When an opportunity arose with a leading U.S.-based snack brand, the team needed to prove their esports audience also had an interest in buying the snack.

“We had to research how our fans across key markets really felt about the brand,” says Alan Lan, Strategy & Analytics Manager, AB Esports at Blizzard. 

Demographic and behavioral data was key in uncovering this; not only could they use this to get a percentage in terms of consumers of the brand, they could assess the market potential.

Leveraging both core and brand data within GlobalWebIndex, the team got the quantifiable proof they needed that this was an ideal partnership. “This was a top snack brand among our audience”, says Alan. “That finding was crucial to closing this deal.”

“Data on purchase intent and consideration is especially valuable. It proves we’re never making assumptions – our recommendations are based on fact.”

Read the full story.

5. BBC: it’s about getting the right answers.

BBC’s content is aimed at a range of audiences and hosted on a multitude of platforms. With so much information to analyze across multiple data sources, they needed to bring everything into focus.

Analyzing data through one lens was key to understanding one of their most valuable audiences in more detail: affluent millennials.

Looking to analyze their interests, their values, what they want from brands and what defines them, they turned to custom research

This gave them control over what data they would retrieve; asking the questions that would pinpoint the gaps in visibility they needed to fill.

With a bespoke survey on a targeted U.S. sample, the biggest market for them digitally, the team asked where they consumed their news and how, building up a Venn diagram of the crossover between people on their site and those consuming BBC content on Facebook, Twitter, Apple News or YouTube, for example.

They found that, for the most part, people who consumed on their site were not the same audience to those who consumed off-site.

This insight helped them improve their targeting by giving a unified view of their audience – honing in on the kind of content that works best for the variety of audiences they serve across platforms.

Read the full story.

Uncovering insight, not data

While none of these stories are the same, they all center around one thing: what it takes to get to an insight – because regardless of end goals, that’s what makes a difference to a brand.

Data is just a means of getting there, but the ultimate thing to take away is this: the more in-depth, wide-reaching, harmonized and reliable your research is, the better your insight will be.

Questions to ask when screening your insight:

  • Does it tell a good story?
  • Does it paint a full picture?
  • Does it challenge perceptions?
  • Does it uncover an opportunity?
  • Does it answer your questions?

Take a leaf from the brands leading the way with a data-driven focus. They prove this is a framework that pays.

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