By Catherine Rickwood & Caroline Smiley

Our series ‘Congress Countdown’ looks forward to ESOMAR Congress 2016 by giving you an insight into some of the presentation topics on the programme that will be sure to #WOW you! In their forthcoming ESOMAR Congress presentation Catherine Rickwoood & Caroline Smiley discuss how to bring insight stories to life within in a global corporation in a way that influences decisions.

Although the Market Research industry is growing rapidly—19% employment growth is predicted in this field by 2024 which is, to a statistically significant degree, much faster than the national average of 7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015)—researchers believe that report writing will become completely automated in just a few years (GRIT report, 2016).

In order to survive such a growing abundance of data and its accompanying thirst for insights, it is important to change the way that we communicate. Three core priorities include:

  • Speaking the right language to ensure that our voice is heard
  • Creating easily digestible outputs in order to reach decision makers that will permeate all departments and senior leadership meetings
  • And, most importantly, revising the content of our deliverable outputs to ensure that they showcase our ‘thinking’ through high-level consultative partnerships rather than simply ‘doing’ i.e. churning out charts and data points

We know that everyone relies on ‘System 1’ thinking and therefore visual cues and mental shortcuts whenever possible. Researchers and Behavioural Economists frequently cite this thinking in relation to their consumers, yet there is no difference in the decision-making process when dealing with large amounts of data and insight. Even if we, as insight providers and researchers in data-heavy and supposedly objective roles, may think that we are somewhat exempt from these patterns, the reality is that we should apply this thinking to our colleagues and our audience. The need for this is evident in the large volume of content that champions the benefits of storytelling through data.

It is easy to succumb to thinking that ‘more is more,’ especially for vendors or in dealings with very senior team members, but we need to avoid that pitfall at all costs. It may feel like we are short changing people or under-valuing our in-depth projects to provide less than absolutely all available information in answer to a specific question. However, thinking in the context of marketing helps to put this situation into perspective: we would never suggest that a brand’s cereal packaging contain only a big list of its ingredients. Those ingredients are crucial, and they should be freely communicated to the discerning buyer. In the meantime, though, we need to ensure that headlines appear on the front of the box in bold colors: “Heart healthy!” “Less sugar than leading competitors!”. We, as researchers, need to practice what we preach by providing shortcuts and easy access to the critical and engaging pieces of information in our delivery.

Catherine Rickwood, Mesh USA & Caroline Smiley Delta Airlines

Catherine Rickwood & Caroline Smiley from Delta Airlines will be delivering their presentation entitled “The Million Dollar Preference Calculator Struggling to be heard? Money talks! Our journey to drive investment decisions via simple tools” at the ESOMAR Congress on Wednesday 21st September.