February 23rd saw Insights Marketing Day return to London. IMD – courtesy of Keen as Mustard and Greenbook. IMD brought together a mix of agency researchers, clientside researchers, marketers and more to help educate research and insight agencies about how they can better market themselves.

Despite the variety of speaker backgrounds there were several reoccurring themes that were present:

  1. Our Marketing Challenge Is Substantial
  2. We Need To Commit To Marketing
  3. We Have Numerous Marketing Channel Options
  4. Simplicity Is The Key To Effective Marketing
  5. We Need To Remember The Basics

Our Marketing Challenge Is Substantial

Lightspeed’s Ralph Risk best summed up the triple-pronged-challenge faced by research and insight agencies:

  • We need to market ourselves to potential clients
  • Internal communications is an ongoing battle
  • We need to win back the faith of the public to participate in our research programs

Added to this challenge is that each of these segments is vastly different, as is their benefit to a research business.

We Need To Commit To Marketing

Despite research and insight businesses struggling for awareness and differentiation, we are reticent to commit to marketing – in terms of both budget and resource. We need this commitment to come from:

  • Internal leadership – the gateway to budget release
  • Internal colleagues – the resource behind the content
  • Clients – the owners of case studies and collateral

The trigger to getting these commitments however lies with the insight marketer:

  • We need to prove to leadership that marketing drives revenue
  • We need to inspire colleagues to support marketing activity
  • We need to better communicate and collaborate with clients on marketing efforts

We Have Numerous Marketing Channel Options

Thought leadership, awards, PR, social media, email, conferences etc. etc. We have many viable marketing options open to us. This is good as our marketing challenge is sizeable. However, our lack of commitment means we are often failing to maximise these options. The message from IMD was clear:

  • The marketing channels are there – we need to use them
  • Each of these options requires varying investment and differing skills
  • It is vital that channels are well integrated to maximise effectiveness

Simplicity Is The Key To Effective Marketing

Whether it be in the copy we write or how we present proposals to clients, we need to keep our messages short and simple. Too often we forget we are the ‘skim-generation’ who turn away if something looks complex or intimidating.

Simplicity is also key in the way we work with colleagues and clients alike:

  • If we want colleagues to use our marketing collateral we need to inform them it exists
  • If we want to present with a client at a conference we need to ask them

We Need To Remember The Basics

Whilst some of the challenges of insights marketing resemble marketing fundamentals – awareness for example, so are some of the failings in our current marketing activity, such as:

  • Not personalising communications
  • Not explicitly stating the value of our communications
  • Failing to turn up to meetings with hard copies of documents
  • Not turning up to meetings on time

These are marketing fundamentals we preach to clients every day and best business practice we should be installing in our staff – it is time to practice what we preach when it comes to solving our own marketing challenges.

By Jack Miles