The Bloomfire team had a whirlwind of a week in Las Vegas for The Market Research Event (TMRE). TMRE is one of the biggest market research and consumer insights conferences of the year, and while it’s a busy four days, our team always learns a lot from the sessions and our conversations with research professionals.
This year, we’ve decided to go against the prevailing belief that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” to share some of the most valuable things we learned from TMRE 2019.
Your Entire Company Needs a Shared Understanding of the Customer
We were thrilled to have two of our customers (Jason Pafford from Orvis and Annie Corbett from DraftKings) presenting at TMRE this year. Although they come from very different organizations, we noticed a common thread across both presentations: the entire organization needs a holistic view of the customer.
Voice of the customer (VoC) and user research often lives within a company’s market research or customer experience team. But when this research is siloed within one team or department, employees on other teams miss out on valuable insights that could help them deliver a better product or service.
If your team is conducting VoC and user research, it’s up to you to promote a shared understanding of the voice of the customer across your company. For both DraftKings and Orvis, that shared understanding starts with centralizing all their research in Bloomfire. It’s not just members of their research or customer experience teams who use Bloomfire: stakeholders from across each organization can access VoC and user research whenever they want, which means that everyone has a holistic view of the customer as they make product, service, and messaging decisions.
Demonstrating Quick Wins Will Increase Your Stakeholder Buy-In
In her presentation on building a research culture from the ground up, DraftKings’ Annie Corbett talked about how her research team had to get some quick wins under their belt so that they could prove their value to their rapidly growing company— and get the support they needed from company leaders to keep pursuing new research initiatives. For her team, this meant starting small with a focus on design, UX, and UI. In just four months, they had conducted 57 research initiatives, interviewed 160 product users, and surveyed another 6,000 users. They distributed the results of their initiatives to stakeholders across the company, proving that they could validate and inform decisions quickly and easily.
The takeaway for other research teams who need to increase their buy-in is to identify the quick initiatives that you can conduct with your existing resources. Rather than waiting for a line manager to commission a research project, identify and test your own hypotheses— and then share the results across your company. Make it clear how your stakeholders can use your research results to inform their decisions and deliver a better customer experience.
Understanding Your Buyers’ Emotions Is a Huge Competitive Advantage
There’s a common market research adage that resurfaced at TMRE: there’s a big difference between what people say they want and what they actually want. In other words, while a customer might tell you one thing in an interview, their behavior might indicate something completely different. Being able to close this gap and gain a better understanding of your buyers’ emotions can give your company a big competitive advantage.
We saw plenty of examples of strategies and new technologies that research teams are using to understand buyers’ emotions (Kimberly-Clark’s conversational research exercises and Amazon’s music listener segmentation stood out). What needs to come next— and what many companies are still struggling to achieve— is connecting this research into buyers’ emotions with other qualitative and quantitative research. When research professionals successfully marry different types of research across different sources, they’re able to identify new trends and make meaningful recommendations to company leaders.
And that leads us into our final TMRE 2019 takeaway.
The Most Advanced Market Researchers Are Skilled at Connecting Disparate Sources
One thing we kept hearing at TMRE was that market research teams are outsourcing a lot of their needs (focus groups, surveys, data analysis, and so on) to vendors. There’s no single vendor that can do everything, and as a result, in-house market research teams are inundated with research from a wide range of sources.
The most advanced market research teams have become skilled at centralizing all that information, synthesizing the research, and distributing their insights across their organizations. By proactively distributing their research, these teams become strategic partners for their companies. And teams that are viewed as strategic partners have more freedom to experiment, control their budget, and establish research priorities— ultimately setting them up to be centers of innovation.
If this sounds aspirational to you, you’re not alone: according to research from the Boston Consulting Group, only 20% of companies have research functions that are mature enough to be considered a strategic insight partner or a source of competitive advantage.
Of course, just because you’re not there yet doesn’t mean this level of maturity is out of your reach. As we hope you’ve seen from our four big TMRE takeaways, one of the best things you can do to become a more mature research function is to centralize and distribute your insights so that decision-makers across your company can benefit from them.
Interested in seeing how Bloomfire can help you amplify your insights?