In 2019 alone, Comcast Business’s market research team conducted over 100 research projects and generated over 50 market and consumer insights reports. Multiply that by over 10 years of existing research, and the volume of research findings available to Comcast Business’s teams is staggering.
But before 2019, Comcast Business’s market research team faced a big challenge: research findings were stored across multiple platforms that weren’t optimized for search or filtering. The team was spending a lot of time fielding email and Slack requests from colleagues who were looking for specific insights. Realizing that they needed a better way to share insights and increase the visibility of their research across the organization, the market research team set out to create a central, searchable research library using the Bloomfire platform.
Since launching their Bloomfire instance (which they’ve named Merlin), Comcast Business has seen a significant increase in engagement with their market research reports and findings. And after their organization shifted to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they saw a further surge in visits to Bloomfire as leaders across the company sought to keep up with fast-changing information and make data-backed decisions.
During a recent webinar we hosted with GreenBook, we had an opportunity to talk with Christa Chaffinch, Manager of Market Research & Planning at Comcast Business, about how her team’s approach to insights sharing has changed in the past year and how they’ve been able to increase both their visibility and impact across the organization.
You can check out the full recording of the webinar here. And in the meantime, we’ve got an overview of some of the strategies Chaffinch’s team used to increase the reach of their research—and lessons other research teams can take away.
Get Into the Mindset of the End User
As the Comcast Business market research team began thinking about how to set up a research library that would be valuable to their internal stakeholders, it was important for them to “get out of the researcher mindset and think about how our stakeholders talk and think,” according to Chaffinch. With stakeholders across many different departments and roles, from product managers to copywriters to VPs of Marketing and Communication, the research team recognized that different groups would have different ways of referring to and searching for different topics. For example, while some groups might look for research related to “TV,” others might try to find the same research by searching for “video.”
Before building their new research library, the market research team met with a cross-section of stakeholders to discuss and better understand how each group thought and talked about different research topics. As a result of these conversations, the market research team was able to ensure that the right terminology was embedded in their content and tags so that everyone could find research through the keyword searches that were intuitive to them.
Communicate with Stakeholders—a Lot
Any insights team preparing to introduce a new way for their stakeholders to engage with research will need to build excitement and keep the drumbeat for their new solution going—and that requires a lot of communication. Before launching Merlin, Chaffinch’s team regularly communicated to stakeholders how this new research library would make their work lives easier—and allow them to make faster, data-driven decisions. They continued to build excitement for Merlin by holding a launch event and giving branded gifts to their stakeholders.
In addition to keeping Merlin top of mind, all the communication around this new solution helped the market research team get in front of employees and groups from across the organization who might not otherwise have interacted with them. “Merlin has helped our research team become more visible,” says Chaffinch.
Engage Your Advocates Early On
Before they launched Merlin, the Comcast Business market research team chose a group of 25 stakeholders from several different departments to beta test the platform. They chose people who regularly engaged with and requested access to their research, knowing that it was important for their platform to meet the needs of these power users.
The market research team gave their beta testers “homework” to test out the functionality of the platform and asked everyone to provide feedback about their experience. “We got such unbelievably detailed and great feedback about how to make Merlin better, how to revise our training materials, and how to make sure people came back again and again,” says Chaffinch. This feedback was integral to her team as they finalized the information hierarchy and the look and feel of the platform.
The team discovered another unexpected benefit of working with a group of beta testers: the beta testers loved the platform so much that they became internal advocates for Merlin, helping to get other colleagues excited about the launch of this new resource.
Invest in Ongoing Engagement
While it’s important to build excitement for the launch of a new research library, it’s equally important to keep communicating about this resource after launch and encouraging stakeholders to visit it on a regular basis. The Comcast Business team continues to talk about Merlin in meetings with their stakeholders, and when they get a request for existing research, they share a link from Merlin rather than the file itself. Additionally, they send a monthly research roundup newsletter with links to content in Merlin. More recently, they’ve also launched a weekly COVID-19 newsletter that directs readers to the latest COVID-19 information and research in Merlin.
Knowledge Management in a Decentralized Workplace
In addition to discussing the steps her team took to get organization-wide buy-in for their research library, Chaffinch also talked about how Comcast Business is using Merlin to keep remote employees connected to one another and the information they need to do their jobs. Not only is the team pushing people to host their own content on Merlin, but they are also sharing information about their project priorities at a time when information is moving quickly and employees are working out of their homes. “The change in our research projects has been more strategic as we continuously look to increase research visibility,” says Chaffinch.
Thanks to the Comcast Business market research team’s efforts to keep their stakeholders going back to Merlin, they’ve seen the platform become an essential tool for making fast, data-driven decisions. And that high level of engagement is, in turn, increasing the value and lifespan of their research.