The trend towards customer-centricity is creating fantastic opportunities for the research and insights sector, but to take advantage of these opportunities, we need to step up our game. One way we can do that, is to help client-side Insights teams better measure the value we/they deliver, and more specifically the return on investment achieved.
We believe that if we measure the ROI from Insights we can start to create a virtuous spiral where:
Cheers to customer-centricity: “The best thing since sliced bread”
Nobody can be in doubt that the business world is changing and that technology is fueling that change, and that one of the key technology drivers impacting business is digitalization.
Of particular relevance to the market research and insights sector is the way digitalization is changing the power relationship between businesses and their customers. Historically, it could be argued that, whilst businesses paid lip-service to customer-centricity, through the “customer is king” mantra, in reality, businesses held almost all of the cards and therefore had the lion’s share of power in the relationship.
Digitalization has caused a fundamental paradigm shift, with the power shifting more and more away from businesses towards the customer, towards the consumer. As more and more business leaders are understanding that this paradigm shift is real, and not just a blip, more and more businesses are making customer-centricity core to their strategy.
As a result, companies in this race for customer-centric competitive advantage need more and more data and insights on markets, on customers and consumers, to fuel that strategy and beat the competition.
Data and insights becoming the new oil
What a fantastic opportunity this is for Insights departments and the research industry that supports them. But it is also a great challenge, especially to those Insights departments, which are currently not seen as strategic partners, nor which measure their ROI.
The axe Insights departments need to avoid
Another key business trend, at least amongst large companies, is the continuous cutting off of any perceived “fat” in the cost centers, as business leaders fight to reach short-term financial targets and increase short-term shareholder value.
If the money spent on market research and insights is perceived as a cost rather an investment, then there is a very real risk, which in too many companies is already an unfortunately reality, that Insights departments’ budgets will be cut and that money shifted to other functions, which are seen as an investment, i.e. measure their ROI.
From more for less to more for more
This puts the Insights department under terrible pressure. On the one hand, there is growing demand for their services. On the other, there is a shrinking budget. This in turn puts the industry under terrible pressure to deliver more for less, and everyone in the industry knows where that is leading us.
If, on the other hand, an Insights department is a strategic partner, or even a source of competitive advantage, which can measure and demonstrate its ROI, then the chances are that the budget will grow rather than shrink as the demand for its services increases. This in turn, can lead to Insights departments demanding “more for more” from the research industry.
In undertaking this ROI from Insights initiative in partnership with BCG, and in partnering with national associations and their members across the globe, we believe that we can significantly grow the global sector and increase the real and perceived value of market research and insights. An exciting mission indeed.
Together with BCG, we have put in place a two stage plan:
- Create an ROI from Insights self-assessment tool
- Get that tool into the hands of the people who need it. I.e. the client-side Insights department heads
You can read about the first step in the process here
You can read about the second step in the process here
To find out more about this initiative, please contact us.