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How to Make ‘Ah Ha!’ Moments Work Outside the Research Department

Editor’s note: we interview Philip Atkins, director of client services, who talks about how returning to and clarifying project objectives can help ensure that research insights are not wasted with inactivity.

As a market researcher, do you ever feel like other departments at your company don’t render the insights and recommendations gained in studies into actionable strategy? Here’s what it takes to get all the teams are on the same page.

Get the right people sitting at the table

“When you go in to design the project, you need to have the real decision makers, if not around the table, then very well-represented at the table,” Blunk advises.

With these decision makers’ input, answer questions like:

  • Who is going to use this data?
  • What type of decisions will be driven by this data?
  • Who is funding it?
  • Who are the clients, and what do they need?

In other words, getting down the 5 W’s and the “how?” of research is the first big step. The next part is actually delivering these insights in meaningful ways that management or marketing can understand.

Socialize the research

You’ve probably seen it before, your colleagues’ eyes glazing over as soon as the fat, three-ring binder full of data is dropped onto the desk. Such outdated, uninvolved tactics are a huge reason why research goes to waste.

“You have to make the data come off the page,” stresses Blunk. “You have to tell a story, but you also have to define what that message is, what was learned, and provide them with the insights on what’s working and what’s not.”

But even if you do have an easy-to-read infographic to accompany your market research story (versus the dreaded binder), your findings might still be left on the shelf. The key is clarity in the message.

“We have to make the transition for the client from just ‘data’ to the next steps,” say Blunk. Some ways to do this are:

  • A crisp, clear, and concise executive summary
  • Avoiding text-heavy language (think visuals, like a key drivers analysis)
  • Narrowing down on priorities in research findings

Reinforce goals

When telling a story through research and insights, you must remember the audience you’re speaking to.

Decide when user-friendly language is preferable or whether high-level, technical jargon is necessary instead. While the latter may seem like a foreign language to you, the style in which you describe these insights must speak directly to your audience.

“This goes back to the work you did previously—having a good grasp of the objectives when you start the project,” says Blunk. “That helps you provide clarity on the insights of what you’ve acquired.”

In the end, tying data back to your established objectives helps everyone keep a clearer focus.