There’s nothing more frustrating than uncovering a perfect insight in your consumer research, passing it on to your C-Suite, and then… crickets. Being responsible for providing insights along with recommended actions many times comes with time pressure. It’s common to spend days in back-to-back meetings with constant reminders that people are waiting on the outcomes and synthesis of market research in the field. Initially, you thought finding the right online survey provider would be the hard part of your job, but getting quality research done is only half the battle. Getting the findings on the meeting agenda proves harder than you anticipated.
So how do you get your great market research noticed? With every day that goes by the data is getting older and the urgency is deflating.
Storytelling has become table stakes for research presentations. Getting your research noticed often means breaking it down into understandable and interesting vignettes of the consumer’s life. Enabling the understanding of human behavior is aided with this tactic. But oftentimes C-Suite teams don’t have enough time for in-depth information from consumer experience. Instead of simply falling back on the multiple stories or in-depth research decks, sharpen your storytelling and presentation skills even more – honing in on only one story. You can also accentuate the key learnings by providing the one, two or three powerful questions that the brand is keen to understand. The short story is memorable but the answers to the burning question(s) will place the consumer within the context of the business action needed. Great content skills are critical, but what gets great research work noticed is as much about context as content.
Consumer research is like a bottle of water on a hot day. If you need water, and you pass a cart that’s selling it, that cart gets your business. It gets your business not because it beautifully packaged and marketed it well, but because it was there when you needed it. Great water vendors know they must be easily found by thirsty people when the temperature rises.
Research is often ordered on a hot day. There is a pressing need and burning questions to be answered, but by the time it gets in and out of field and is ready to present, those who ordered it are sated or have long since forgotten the heat of the moment. To get noticed, great market research needs to look like water offered on that hot day. In other words, the timing of the presentation can be almost as important as the information presented. It needs to be there for your C-Suite just when they’re thirsty for solutions. It has to give them the right answers to the right questions at the right time.
For instance, if someone sees a report about 2020’s sudden shift to e-commerce, and thinks, “What are the big shopper marketing changes coming for us in the wake of COVID-19”, what response gets noticed more? “I’ll go find out,” or “Let’s find out right now, what specifically do you want to know?” The second, of course. That isn’t easy. Being there at the right time is a matter of taking opportunities. But you can’t take opportunities unless you’re actively listening for the need.
Taking note of exact question beings asked and being able to either use existing research to provide a direct answer or having a resource for quick responses to expressed needs can prove the value of your on-going research projects and your abilities to make insights relevant to emerging or persistent challenges when they are expressed.
That’s where the right questions and the right answers come in. You need to know the right questions - get deep into the business issues in your organization and learn exactly what’s keeping your stakeholders awake at night. That takes time and effort on top of the hundred other things you have to do all day. Understanding how to use your tools for “in the moment” market research answers can give you a tremendous competitive edge to getting your research prowess noticed.
As important research is edging toward its expiration date it’s tempting to throw out the whole study. Instead, look for an online survey partner who gives you the ongoing access to your last query. When the opportunity comes to present your findings to the C-Suite you can update your longer-format report with two or three quick re-queries on the data. Getting fresh data can be a great gut check on changing consumer opinion but it also serves to extend the life of your recommendations – giving you more opportunity for your work to shine.
The more time you can save by finding a reliable agile market research partner, the more time you can win back to really get into what your C-Suite cares about. When you can make the data relevant to them, deliver answers when they need it most and deliver your findings in a timely manner you’ll really start to get your work noticed.
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