How to Pick the Right Insights Partner

Vice President

What do you look for in an insights partner? There’s a vast array of partnership options at your disposal. Certainly, budget and timing are two criteria. You also want to have confidence in your insights partner that they have the skills and competencies needed to lead you to successful outcomes. To start, you need to answer certain questions about an organization’s insights team, the needs for a specific engagement, and the desired outcomes.

Starting with the team, will the engagement be led by a more junior or senior member of the team? How much collaboration and leadership will be needed from the research partner? Does the team member have the confidence and time to manage to success with only limited resources or even through do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches?

Moving to the engagement, is the need more tactical (which of these ideas is best) or more strategic (where is there opportunity to grow my brand through a new product offering)? How well articulated are the business questions? Do you already know with confidence how to answer them through sound research design?

And finally, desired outcomes. What level of confidence is needed for stakeholders to implement the results in decision-making? How much consultation will be needed to successfully embed more strategic work into the business?

How much consultation will be needed to successfully embed more strategic work into the business?”

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will need a partner who has the right amount of expertise across a few key areas:

1. Consultation

Unless there is full confidence that a DIY solution is appropriate to answer a well-defined and highly tactical business question, consultation with an expert is critical. An expert consultant will ensure the project will answer specific business questions, choose the best and most efficient methodology, guarantee the research is conducted properly and yields high-quality data, is interpreted to yield valid and actionable results, and perhaps most importantly, will help embed learnings in the business and ensure impact and ROI.

2. Custom in approach

Many research companies offer standardized “products” that may fit a client’s need well, but often need to be modified. The recommendation on approach starts with what is in the product toolkit, not with the client need. Custom agencies build the ideal solution to the client’s specific needs, priorities, and business situation to ensure comprehensive answers to the client’s unique business questions.

Custom agencies build the ideal solution to the client’s specific needs, priorities, and business situation to ensure comprehensive answers to the client’s unique business questions.”

3. Breadth of competence

Research companies that specialize in specific research areas such as Customer Experience, Brand Equity, Innovation, or Copy Testing may be appropriate when the implications of results will live only in silos. Companies that have competency across research domains can distill broader reaching insights to impact more of the business and increase ROI.

4. True agility

Automation lowers costs and reduces timelines, but those qualities do not define “agility.” Agility is flexibility to work at speed and iterate as needs evolve. Capability, responsiveness, and expertise are essential qualities in delivering true agility. Unless a client is confident that they know what they need and that those needs won’t evolve, they will benefit from a truly agile partner.

Would you like to discuss more about choosing the right insights partner for successful outcomes?

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