The art of agile consumer insights

Our panel of industry thought leaders discuss how to drive market research innovation with tech and automation.
06 July 2022
Agile Consumer Research
Michael Morrow

Vice President, Marketing, Kantar Marketplace, North America

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While market research always requires fast-paced reactions and accelerating product development, the last two years have displayed the demand more tangibly than ever before. As timelines shrink and pressure increases, ways to generate insights can be improved upon to fully grasp customer priorities without compromising quality.

Kantar Marketplace virtually gathered a group of industry thought leaders to discuss The Art of Agile Consumer Insights and how leaders can adopt an agile mindset to drive creative and innovative thinking and leverage consumer insights at scale. In a panel moderated by Kantar’s Head of Platforms and Data Strategy, experts included: David Banks, Sr. Director of Marketing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances; Manish Pandey, Sr. Director of Digital Transformation, Fiserv; Ari Goldsmith, Vice President of Marketing & Digital Media, KeHE Distributors; Ki Choi, Marketing Systems Insights, Meta. 

Key takeaways and learnings from the event included: 

Choosing data that drives decisions

As a company grows, so does its need for market research. Ari Goldsmith of KeHe discussed how her expanding company made decisions about which kinds of data should be explored, and how to prioritize internal and external pressure.

“Those growing pains include technology and also our own intrinsic desire for decision making to happen that much faster,” she said. “We really look at does the data help you to make a decision, is it fast enough? Or are you delayed because of the data?”

Agile market research platforms such as Kantar Marketplace are built to accelerate this process and shorten the distance between insights and decision making.

David Banks of Bell Flavors and Fragrances noted that the need for speed, scale and high quality insights doesn’t just come from growth, but from adapting to changing market conditions as well.

“The big challenge that we see is a lot of our customers have been cutting their insights teams … so we are now responsible for being able to not just bring a great idea to market, but also bring a great idea that's got some backing behind it, whether that's from a sensory perspective, whether that's from a consumer insight perspective, or even just a research perspective…the speed to getting these answers back has increased dramatically. And it really does make it a challenge to get quality research … when you know that you're being asked to do three times more with, you know, half the people.”

Staying on top of customer expectations

“If there’s one thing changing faster than technology today, it’s customer expectation,” ManishPandey of Fiserv explained. “It’s not about how much research we’re doing, it’s about how fast we are. If you’re not fast, all the research you’re doing will be obsolete.”

While the quality and personalization of research will always be important, to keep ahead in the long game of understanding a customer now, means agility is more important than ever.

Opportunities in predictive data and fast-changing outcomes

Ki Choi of Meta spoke about the fast rate of change being an opportunity for better research and more predictive data.

“I think that predicting consumer behaviors, trends, etc is of the utmost importance,” he said. “The rate of change has also accelerated. With that pressure there’s also a massive opportunity to help influence processes, outcomes, decisions, top to bottom.”

Finding a story that meets both customer and consumer needs

To build a good team structure for efficient research, David Banks has a robust toolbox of both technology and great people on his team to make the best sort of forward momentum.

“I always look at my group as storytellers,” he said. “We are the ones who have multiple data sources so that we can pull together a story. It has to resonate not just with the customer that we’re talking to, but also with the consumer we’re trying to reach.”

Using technology to predict the future

“We don’t really look at different phases,” said Manish. “We look at technology. You have to use technology like machine learning or AI and be ahead in the game. We can’t predict the future, but we can see things like next best action.”

Ki agreed: “our leadership, they're really interested in not just understanding what's happening, or what people think today, but identifying early signals of what will happen in the future.” 

Instead of focusing on trying to anticipate every phase, it’s more important to put technology to work and figure out what the next action should be in the most timely manner possible. Using AI-driven tools like Link AI on Kantar Marketplace, marketers can predict consumer reactions at scale.

Overall, our panel of experts agreed that leveraging technology and automation to test frequently, iteratively, and intentionally results in more accurate and holistic consumer feedback, subsequently generating highly personalized insights that optimize the innovation pipeline and transform advertising effectiveness. Learn more about combining top-tier technology with proven methodology and human expertise to generate deep brand-building and growth. View the full session here. 

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