Helping businesses grow through insight

By Julian Watson, TRP’s lead associate for insight-related work – part of our Insight & Strategy pillar. Julian is the Principal Consultant at Sketch Insight, a boutique research agency specialising in Analytics, Innovation, Strategy and Training.

Insight is a subjective and often misunderstood term. Insight also sounds a little bit sexier than market research, which is why I think everybody is trying to be a Data Scientist or Futurologist these days.

In its broadest sense, insight is the capacity to gain a robust and deep understanding of someone or something. From a commercial perspective, insight tells you why something has happened and how you can capitalise on it.

In my experience, there are three critical success factors to helping businesses grow through insight. Your insight needs to be accessible, inspiring and actionable.

Organised, accessible insight allows you to share and deepen knowledge, fuelling creativity. I estimate that 80% of the information and insight required already exists in a business, the challenge is finding the time and resource to mine, reframe and then action against it.  Online ‘consumer hubs’ are an extremely cost-effective way of organising all of your insight into an accessible and inspiring format. They are also a fantastic training resource.

Great insight is also inspiring, which usually means simple and visual.  For something to be truly inspiring, your audience needs to understand it, buy into it and want to talk about it. Businesses don’t need 100 slide presentations or reports, they need five key opportunities delivered with clarity and gusto, backed by solid evidence.  Always tell a story and, if you can, always include a customer comment backed by robust data. The combination is compelling and inspiring.

The last and often overlooked part is making it all actionable. This usually means knowing your client and having an opinion on how best to capitalise on the opportunities presented. Facilitated action planning workshops are the best way of getting to a quick consensus and laying down plans.

So those are my thoughts on how best to help businesses grow through insight. Make everything accessible, take time to inspire your audiences and drive through the actions on the back of the insight.

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