“The future for insights professionals is very bright”

Anna Raventós

Current market research challenges

For several years now, macroeconomic and social factors have directly and profoundly impacted consumer habits. Just as some pre-pandemic habits were beginning to recover, new political and economic events have placed us in a context of inflation that seems to have no end.

Rapidly changing times are a chance for brands to thrive, not just survive, and real-time insights can help businesses succeed in a constantly evolving market.

Insights professionals have to deal with uncertainties worldwide, and consumption habits changing continuously due to inflation. It’s crucial to understand customers better constantly. But how can this be done successfully?

inflation report

During the recent webinar with Quirk’s, insights professionals talked about the challenges they are facing in the market today and their advice on continually monitoring the voice of the customerLuciana Procopio, Consumer Insights Manager at Panasonic EuropeVanessa Bougla, Head of Insights at Avanti West Coast UK, and, Helen Dunnington, Voice of Customer Manager at Avanti West Coast UK, brought their expertise and advice on product innovation and brand growth based on agile market research.

During the session, Luciana explained that the pandemic affected them in their categories since people had more money to invest at home and they needed to find specific products. The market reacted entirely differently, and they had to adapt to it.

It was also challenging for Avanti West Coast UK, since customers were more nervous about traveling. Helen Dunnington explained that they needed to gather insights about how consumers were adapting to the pandemic and how they could be encouraged to come back to travel. And this is something all companies need to do during challenging times. There is always a huge demand to understand customer needs and how we must address them.

How to proactively measure brand health

Vanessa Bougla explained, at Avanti West Coast UK, they measure brand health through in-house and external tools, such as Zinklar’s insights platform. The most they value about the platform is its speed. It helps to make decisions quickly, for example, about investments and new product launches, and gives them confidence and strength in front of stakeholders because it provides them with data. Vanessa said that working with DIY solutions and external sources is the perfect way to gather answers quickly.

Chocolate snacks trends 2023 report

According to Helen Dunnington, companies always need more data. They must be more agile, respond quickly and gather actionable insights. Avanti West Coast UK uses a wide variety of tools, external and internal, to ask their consumers. They also use platforms like Zinklar, as Vanessa explained, to launch different types of projects related to travel patterns, booking processes, ticket offers, naming tests, and more diverse projects, Helen explained, to get real-time insights.

How to maximize the voice of the customer

During times of increasing inflation, as Vanessa Bougla said, it’s crucial to know how to offer solutions and products adapted to your customer’s needs. You also need to know if we can go back to pre-pandemic levels or what will come next.

For Luciana Procopio, it’s important to be curious and open-minded, and you need to know what market research solutions are available and find out which ones allow you to be more agile. Luciana explained that they also use external and internal tools, such as DIY platforms like Zinklar. They use the platform to launch projects related to marketing campaigns, product claims, or exploratory research. For the Consumer Insights Manager, Zinklar’s platform is straightforward to use and the support of insights experts is beneficial to build the correct questionnaire.

What companies expect from insights experts

Companies expect insights teams to find out what consumers prefer. “We need to be more agile, be right and actionable”, Luciana Procopio said. According to the Insights Manager, we live in high challenging times, and it’s important to understand what people are going through and their consumption preferences.

Therefore, it is essential to work with scenario planning, analyzing consumer behavior and economic factors to understand what can happen and evaluate different options. Thus, the strategy is built based on different scenarios to prepare the company for future adversities.

What’s next? 2023 opportunities and trends in research

For Vanessa, what brands need to do in 2023 is to stay ahead of opportunities and trends. It’s important to be as proactive as possible and try to discover how things can change unexpectedly. The insights expert said that in 2023 we will see an open collaboration with other companies to share knowledge and research to avoid duplicated efforts.

The future for insights professionals, Luciana explained, is very bright. The role of Insights departments is essential to provide knowledge and drive innovation. They can address challenges and be a clear guide for businesses. The key to staying ahead of the evolving world is gathering actionable answers and providing recommendations that can be implemented quickly, especially in uncertain times.

For Helen Dunnington, 2023 is an exciting opportunity, as the need for insights would increase. Therefore, insights professionals must stay close to consumers’ needs and provide them with a solution that could work for them.

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