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4 Research Strategies for Time-Strapped Teams

Emily James

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It seems with the increasing number of requests from stakeholders for more faster and agile research, that there are ever more insight teams struggling with the decreased amount of time to do quality market research in the insights industry.

As an industry, we are continually innovating research methods and working within the constraints set for us by stakeholders, but there are some that stand above the rest for the truly time-strapped teams:

1. Continuous Insight Generation

While this strategy takes a fair bit of forward planning, but once insight teams establish a successful research community or panel set up and running well then insight teams have the ability to obtain instant insights at the drop of a hat. Continuous insight generation means stakeholders all across the organisation can have access to a working database of insights old and new for any last-minute decisions that need to be made.

The time it takes at the start can be extensive, especially when trying to get participants in the groove of insight generation and swapping out the inactive participants for more active ones that are in the right sample. Of course, a successful community or panel is one that constantly evolves in tune to the type of research needed, the sample required, and the insights generated.

But after a while, continual insight generation means more chance of instant insights, or at least a chance to slip research into the schedule so the momentum continues to produce productive insights at speed.

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Insight teams across industries are forever struggling with shorter timescales for market research, so what can we do to keep delivering high quality insights?

2. Outsource Insight Management

For in-house insight teams, insight generation and activation strategies can be quite a task if they don’t have the resources. Outsourcing the hands-on tasks to agency insight teams can alleviate the pressure on in-house insight teams so they can focus on the more important tasks and conversations.

Agency insight teams work hard to be a great extension of in-house insight teams, enhancing their capabilities and taking over the more menial tasks such as platform and research management to allow in-house teams and stakeholders to focus on analysing and activating insights to the best of their capabilities.

But building the right relationship between in-house and agency insight teams is the key to maximising the efficiency of this transaction. The better the agency and in-house insight teams know each other, their objectives, their values, and their resources to make sure they align are key to working efficiently towards the same goals.

3. Streamline Research Request and Distribution Channels

One aspect that slows down the research process is the time it takes to commission and distribute research. In regards to commissioning market research, quite a lot of newly formed insights teams in organisations unused to researching struggle to get the word out that they can help decision-making processes. For those more established insight teams, they are too overworked to take on new projects most of the time.

In each case, streamlining the research request channels can help solve this problem. For new insight teams, this means making your way into conversations, taking a spot at the table in board meetings, and putting yourself out there more often in order to maximise your presence within the organisation. Then making sure your research briefs are easily intuitive and guiding stakeholders on the information you need in order to get started.

For established teams there are a few ways we can speed up the commissioning process; for starters, educating stakeholders in the basics of research so they can create a quick survey or hold a quick focus group themselves to gather some data and take the onus off of insight teams can help them understand the value of market research and use the data more wisely in the activation stage.

Another way would be to recruit insight advocates to help create more channels of research conversation and education. These Advocates can be a part of conversations in places the insight team usually struggles to reach (i.e. department meetings) and help liaise with the insight team to help get the ball rolling. Then once the insights are generated the Advocates can help distribute them to the wider organisation at the drop of a hat.

4. Creating an Insights Inventory

Also known as the ‘holy grail of market research’ an insights inventory is a place where all insights, data, research projects and objectives are stored for easy access. The directory is a one stop shop for stakeholders to find the answers they need, and if something isn’t there then research can take place to fill in the gaps or build further on what research is there.

As with the continuous insight generation strategy, this could take a little bit of time to create if insight teams take into account everything they’ve done since the formation of in-house insights team. However, if insight teams started cataloguing everything they do from the present moment onwards then the database can start to form with the foundations of research, and time will help us build up a directory of research projects, objectives, and resulting insights for stakeholders to browse through at any time, anywhere, for any purpose.

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The best way to accommodate quicker research requests is to find and implement the strategies that work for that insight team - but finding the best ones takes a bit of trial and error.

The Future of Timely Research

There are more strategies being tried and tested out in the many industries that make use of insight teams, and thus more refinement is naturally to come as the successes roll in. One way to find out which ways might work for you is to network with other insight teams having similar experiences; one great example of such conversations took place when we held a roundtable event on 9th June 2021, where representatives from a variety of industries discussed their experiences with stakeholder engagement and how they fit in collaboration and curation tactics in order to maximise research efficiency.

But of course, the best way is to simply test out strategies yourself and see which of them sticks. Some insightful experiences can guide you to the best strategies to try out, and one of the better pieces of advice would be to piece a couple of strategies together in order to reach maximum efficiency for time-strapped teams.

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