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Why insight is becoming increasingly tough for client-side roles

The insight world appears to be in turmoil which may be leaving many researchers thinking they should pack their bags and go to live on a desert island. Here we look at five reasons why it’s not only challenging agencies but also client side.

1 – Access all areas

New platforms and software programs means data is available everywhere, throughout businesses and we hear on the grapevine that some client side researchers are feeling threatened by the notion of ubiquitous access to data. What this means is there is a greater emphasis on what is done with data.

In other words a greater onus on both interpretation as well as  producing visually arresting presentations to communicate the data to stakeholders. ‘Data artistry’ is how we like to imagine it – it’s about painting the ‘data picture’ which arrests the attention and then lacing it with hidden depths where you can reveal your interpretation.

2 – Supplier magicians

With an increasing number of data sources and new suppliers coming on stream it’s hard to keep up. The old agency behemoths are grinding to a halt and new kids on the block are knocking on your door with their shiny new methodologies. How can you trust them? What is in a brand name anymore? What’s the value of their methodologies?

There’s no silver bullet. Perhaps in a world of chaos we need to revert to the tried and trusted word of mouth. Or bite the bullet and refresh suppliers at regular intervals. The natural tendency is to batten down the hatches but sometimes sticking your head above the parapet pays dividends.

3 – I want it yesterday

The pace of business is not going to slow down. Our whole culture, even outside the commercial sphere is driven by immediacy. So how to persuade your colleagues that you can’t get the same quality of insight in half the time?

We are seeing more of a balancing act going on – what is time critical vs what is insight critical? Arguably you’d say both but it’s worth seeing if a difference can be teased out by project even if it’s marginal.

4 – Can’t pay won’t pay

Budgets are going down or being stretched across a number of data sources. It’s difficult both sides – asking suppliers to quote at a lower price vs. suppliers worrying about losing a project on price.

In fact for many public contracts the bid system still attributes part of the evaluation criteria to price. For suppliers there’s nothing worse than being excluded on price. We think it’s much more fruitful to have an honest conversation between both parties.

5 – Dress to impress

Faced with increasing data access it’s easy to reach for new methodologies that are going to impress stakeholders. But it’s worth double checking is there a real need?

Often all you need is the answer to your insight question – and in any case there’s often not a lot to choose between different agency approaches. In essence the fundamental need is quality thinking delivered with commercial acumen that inspires business confidence. How you get there is less relevant.

Perhaps it’s not quite time to depart for that desert island yet but the insight industry is certainly facing an increasing number of challenges.

What’s your biggest challenge right now? Get in touch for some fresh thinking lindsey@freespiritconsulting.com