Four Ways to Maximize the Value of Your Research

Maximize the value of your consumer research by listening to, engaging and sharing with key stakeholders. And make sure research findings are rendered to answer the “So what?” question.

Maximize the value of your consumer research by listening to, engaging and sharing with key stakeholders. And make sure research findings are rendered to answer the “So what?” question.

How many times have you spent significant time and budget on research to inform and enable leadership and other stakeholders to make wise business decisions…only to hope something—anything—happens with those insights once the report presentation is finished? Here are four things you can do to help ensure what you present is meaningful, impactful, and maximizing your ROI.

1.         Listen: Take time to engage with stakeholders, get their input and really understand the challenges they’re trying to solve. Think of them as peers rather than people to convince or obstacles in your way. (Pro tip: leverage your research skills and ask open-ended questions.)

Janice Cogdill, who took her MBA at Willamette University, spends her days investigating how to make websites and apps more effective and efficient for the people who use them. She also leads consumer-obsessed teams and drives double-digit sales growth for her Fortune 100 clients/employers. You can reach her at jenicacogdill@gmail.com or www.linkedin.com/in/jcogdill. 

Janice Cogdill, who took her MBA at Willamette University, spends her days investigating how to make websites and apps more effective and efficient for the people who use them. She also leads consumer-obsessed teams and drives double-digit sales growth for her Fortune 100 clients/employers. You can reach her at jenicacogdill@gmail.com or www.linkedin.com/in/jcogdill

2.         Involve: Further increase stakeholder buy-in by involving them, at least at a high-level, throughout the whole process. For example, hold kickoff meetings to get everyone on the same page and communicate updates on the schedule. Harness the power of qualitative research by having them observe sessions, even if only remotely. (Pro tip: ensure they observe more than one session…trust me on this one.)

3.         Share: Take ownership of raising awareness and sharing what you know about the consumer. A study conducted in 2014 by Tom De Ruyck and Anouk Willems found that 92% of insight professionals believe their research was worth sharing with colleagues, only 65% shared among their organizations. Sometimes seemingly unrelated departments, teams, or roles—often those without access to research—find tremendous value from what might initially seem like irrelevant research. (Pro tip: this is a great way to increase your visibility across the organization)

4.         Tailor: While findings might be interesting, they won’t get any traction if they’re not useful. I’m surprised at how often research reports intended for leadership are heavy on descriptive findings and light on the specific, short messages that answer, “so what?” On the flipside, overly strategic reports don’t always meet the needs of design teams. Tailoring your report might mean developing or re-organizing materials, but this isn’t overly difficult or time consuming if you’ve implemented the initial three points. (Pro tip: providing actionable value for each audience is how you generate value for yourself as well.)