ASC 2019: Turning up the insight, value, speed and action.

Posted by Ian Ralph on the 13th January, 2020
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success - Henry Ford.

November saw the annual Association of Survey Computing conference in Camden Town London, with this year’s session taking a subtle change in direction. With more emphasis on client brands and the application of insights rather than focussing on the tools and methods themselves.

For me the core premise was the challenge for the insights industry to deliver BETTER research, in a QUICKER time and on a CHEAPER budget. The question posed was while we can deliver one of these, and maybe two, would/should we realistically offer all three?

I was delighted to share stage with Luke Biggins from RealityMine to talk about our recent work with Formula 1. Sharing some key findings from two recent studies using passive measurement of digital devices and in-home eye-tracking to better understand the role of multi-screening and digital channels alongside the core broadcast offering of their sport. Whilst we certainly delivered something new and different to Formula 1 in a pragmatic and cost-effective manner, with its bespoke nature I’m not sure whether we can put our hands on our heart and say we ticked the third of these three boxes.

But I think it can be done. And outside of our own paper, the recurring theme that stood out for me throughout the day was that of the Democratisation of Insights. The world of market research, data & analytics and business intelligence are colliding and as brands begin to harness the power of these multiple datasets the ownership and control of them are increasingly being held internally – a trend further supported by GDPR and the regulations it brought along.

This means as agencies the importance of being true partners with our clients is/needs to be getting ever stronger, and the requirement to deliver our work in a way that it can be integrated with other data-streams and/or internal systems and dashboards is ever stronger. Platforms like Tableau and Power BI seem ubiquitous in the briefs we receive and the meetings we have with our clients today, and the data-engineer skills required of a research agency are evolving in this direction.

So, whilst the word of 2019 in our industry seems to have been agility, I wonder if part of being agile is actually as much the willingness and ability to be flexible and adaptable as much as it is fast? The willingness to flex methods, systems and delivery to allow our clients to make more use of their data and insights than merely a single debrief and action planning workshop will allow the value of our data to grow as it blends with other sources – a multiplier-effect if you will.

Going back to our Venn diagram above, it would certainly help with the BETTER aspect alongside the QUICKER… but if we are going to do this CHEAPER too then we need to get better at finding standardised systems and platforms within which to do this so we can flex quickly and cost-effectively. And then be able to share our data seamlessly. And that means working together as an industry for the greater good.

Meet the Author: Ian Ralph
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