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Why investing in research, data & insights is more critical than ever

“Research has always been the cornerstone of informed decisions; why not lean on that expertise now and ensure evidence-based decision making and accelerate the termination of the crisis and the recovery post-crisis?” ESOMAR affirms this in a statement published last week: The role of Data, Research and Insights community in supporting global crisis and post-crisis management of Covid19 measures.

We asked three professionals, from an industry that moves annually USD $80 billion, how market research community can help brands facing this current situation. Here is what they had to say...

Decisions based on solid, unbiased and fact-based evidence

One of the most frequent questions I've been asked in the last couple of weeks is 'shouldn't we stop research and wait until the episode is over?' My straight answer is 'No'. No, you should not stop your research for various reasons. The first one is that we do not know when the episode will be over. Furthermore, what does it mean 'over' in this situation? This is not a break from the normal that once finished our lives will get back to the previous stage. A new world is emerging.

The second one is that people are intensely changing their perceptions, habits and attitudes. It is now the key moment in which brands must follow this evolution. Brands must understand the process in which their customers are going through. Otherwise, the enormous risk they incur is to be totally lost once they decide to get back with their 'normal' marketing and insights activity.

Joaquim BretchaIn this extraordinary time, we underline more than ever that decision-makers should take decisions based on solid, unbiased and fact-based evidence. The data, research, and insights sector can be a critical source of such evidence and guidance; essential research and analyses on the behaviour and attitudes of both citizens and consumers should be maintained, encouraged and intensively used by governments, businesses and charities alike, particularly now."

Joaquim Bretcha, Netquest International Director | ESOMAR President

The re-prioritised agenda is triggering new emotional and material needs

Market research is a diverse discipline that allows small microcosms of opinion around brands, services and products to be explored. We're used to working towards singular unknowns and/or briefs that ask a specific question. However during the Covid19-triggered #StayHome global movement, we're all giving and spending not just our budgets, but also our attention quite selectively - both as marketers and consumers.

The single key agenda to everyone in the world is to protect oneself and one another in order to collectively gain a sense of normality again. Amongst all of this, brands and conventional MR is having to slow down, recalibrate, and even put everything on hold. The most important thing to bear in mind is that, as we witness a global and societal shift in an emergency state, brands will need to understand the changing dynamics and reasons for interaction amongst consumers both online and offline.

Nisa BayindirThe re-prioritised agenda for everyone in the world is triggering new emotional and material needs. Therefore MR community should focus on understanding these agendas on a holistic level, so they can learn from their observations and readjust to the new normal - as we proceed to the end of this pandemic, hopefully not too long in the future."

Nisa Bayindir, Consumer Psychologist and EVP of Behavioural Science | Pulsar Platform

Arm brands to adapt to the current realities and prepare for the long-term ones

Our strongest weapon is data and analysis. In times of crisis, when our whole world is changing day by day, hour by hour, we should arm brands with data-empowered insights in order to help them adapt to the current realities and prepare for the long-term ones. Talk about the importance of data has been revolving for years, but now it’s more relevant than ever – simply said, we are analysing what’s happened recently, what is happening now in order be able to predict what to follow.

Rayna Grudova-de LangeI believe we are now in a kind of transition period, trying to find our way forward. It’s of a great importance for brands to respond to customers’ needs, no matter B2C or B2B, adequately during the crisis, in this transition period, as we are all quite vulnerable now. Yet, it is just as important to prepare for the future. Both of these challenges, the research and evaluation professionals can tackle with valid insights and recommendations based on deep-dive research and analysis."

Rayna de Lange, CEO | DeLange Analytics, AMEC College & Education Group Chair, AMEC European Leadership Team Member

What about you? What are your views on what the data, research and insights community should do to help brands facing this current situation? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash.

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