Insights are powerful tools when in the right hands and used to their fullest capacity, but insights experts everywhere have struggled to engage stakeholders in research enough for them to truly understand the impact and value those insights have, and then act on them accordingly. Most of the time, it’s because stakeholders don’t have enough of an understanding of those insights and how to action them. Still, sometimes, it’s because stakeholders like to fall back on their own previous experiences and gut feelings.
So the role of an insight expert has become a lot less to do with the research itself, and more to do with the communication of powerful insights — creating new tricks, channels and methods to draw stakeholders to market research and keep them interested long enough for them to understand what, when, how and why the insights generated are crucial to their success.
6 Ways to Win Over Stakeholders
Whether you’re creating a report, an executive summary, a newsletter, or another thing that communicates insights, visuals are always an attention-grabber that all insight experts need on their side. So taking the time to create a funky but easy to read graph, or a snippet of footage of respondents, or a supporting image from your resident graphic designer, can really help to draw stakeholders in and keep their attention for longer than simple text or stated numerical data. It will take less effort on the stakeholders’ part to start looking at your communication, and stakeholders will thank you for it.
New Tricks, Channels and Methods
In the text part of the report, summary, newsletter, or other communication thing, keeping it focussed is crucial to maintaining stakeholder attention as they go through the report. Focus and relevance are two of the main attributes insight experts should keep in mind while drafting and editing the report. For example, understanding the benefits that stakeholders are looking to achieve with their decisions at this moment in time is key to achieving both relevance and focus — we can communicate exactly what customers want and how they want to feel throughout the customer experience, and then point to the insights that evidence this, and make recommendations that will help stakeholders achieve this goal.
If the point isn’t getting across quite as well, insight experts might draw examples from similar case studies and situations to help encourage stakeholders to act on the insights shown in ways that would in all likelihood lead to success. These examples are powerful ways of convincing stakeholders that actioning insights lead to some of the greatest brand successes in recent history. For example, Lego are constantly innovating their products and services based off insights from their players’ community, and Starbucks early on revolutionised their customer experience by letting anyone sit and use their cafes for work without the expectation of buying anything from them first — a bold move that created a welcoming space and a positive brand face.
When making recommendations in reports, summaries, etc. using examples where other brands did well on similar strategy trajectories is great, but backing up those recommendations and insights with the raw data can sometimes help cement your authority. While some stakeholders don’t understand data and insights as much as they might need to, others will absolutely understand the data over insights and will be more likely to trust any insights communicated if they can see the raw data and draw the same insight themselves. This evidence-based reporting method will also help stakeholders understand part of the scope and value of the research.
When stakeholders come to market research, they are looking for answers, so be prepared to be as transparent as possible as they ask many many questions. Their questions will be indicative of their priorities, their hopeful next steps and their concerns with both research and reaching their objectives — and the answers they get will determine their next steps. Transparency will only help stakeholders believe in the insights we give them, and any opacity will sow the seeds of doubt in their minds.
Each stakeholder is unique and will require their own methods of communication to fully receive powerful insights. With each new tip, trick and method, insight teams have more ways to engage with stakeholders and continue their much-needed education on the value of research and insights.
This article and infographic were originally published on the FlexMR Insights Blog and can be accessed here.