Coffee, humans and lessons from the front line

Last week we attended the Market Insight Forum for a day of speed dating and generally networking. We have attended these sessions for a few years now and we always enjoy the day through a mixture of coffee, sugar and our general love of chatting.

Spending time with around 20 different senior client-side insight professionals from all sectors, we really felt there were some key themes emerging:

Smarter insight which works hard for us

Budgets and team resources have been cut – insight has to work harder and be smarter and teams need to plan more for the long term and more strategic pieces. A more joined up effort is required with careful planning and less reactive and tactical ad hoc pieces.

Super-charging these longer term trackers was a popular trend - utilising evolved analytics to elevate the insight beyond ‘nice to know.’

Are segmentations dying?

A second theme for the day was a general disappointment with existing segmentations. The number one rule of a segmentation is that it has to be targetable or we are left we are very interesting pen portraits of our target but no accurate way of identifying them. This is definitely a theme we are familiar with and more clients are contacting us to understand the hybrid segmentation approach which, when done well can be appended to databases which intelligently learn / predict behaviour making them extremely powerful for our clients.

It was disappointing to see such disillusionment with segmentations because we have seen first hand that when done well they can revolutionise a business,

but on this particular day it was absolutely a swear word!

Turning a corner?

We left the day feeling shattered (ready for a large G&T) but also energised by the optimism of the people we met. Things have been difficult for insight teams and the pressure is always on to demonstrate ROI, but we felt a real sense of things moving in the right direction and learning from the hard times – a need to focus and plan and understand how studies can serve multiple purposes.

Whilst we are all professionals at these events, we really enjoyed the reassurance that we are all human and we connect with other humans (or we don’t) and ultimately as we have always suspected, ‘people buy people’ and we enjoyed meeting, chatting and laughing with our peers with no expectations, a lot of biscuits and probably too much coffee!