In times of uncertainty, only fools make hard and fast predictions! But if I think about the economic headwinds our clients are facing (and by extension, the role the insights industry can play to help in the coming year), I am going to go out on a limb and share what I feel next year will bring.
Marketers have long defined the context of what matters to sell their products through the lens of the 4Ps. Indulge me with a slight twist, as we predict a focus in 2023 on a new set of important 4Ps: People, Product, Profitability, and lastly, Positivity.
The most important foundation of any business (in any economic climate) is having the right talent within the company and your partner network. The insights industry is stacked with amazingly talented people, and as innovation brings opportunity to deliver better insights that deliver value to clients, we will assuredly need more of them!
But all of us in the industry need to invest in this most important asset because our teams will be the front-line helping clients grow. With that, I specifically want to thank our amazing, dedicated Behaviorally team. A personal highlight of mine in 2022 was seeing us all come together in-person for our All-Staff Growth Summit. We have also inaugurated our first Global Insights Academy to invest meaningfully in developing our up-and-coming team members. These are just some of the ways Behaviorally consistently strives to be a nurturing place for the most creative and ambitious people. If you’re interested in joining our team, please do check out our Careers page. In 2023, our people will be a top priority (which I urge all insights suppliers to do likewise).
Times of uncertainty and resource constraint, counter intuitively, often spark the most impactful innovations. Challenges in the last few years forced everyone in the industry to get creative. For us, we took the time to double down, investing in an already accelerated innovation pipeline to fuel new product development that fills unmet client needs. That manifested for Behaviorally this year in a massive introduction of new products and solutions, leveraging our legacy expertise in packaging and behavioral science, our unparalleled database and cutting-edge AI and computer vision technology, as well as a healthy dose of experimental ingenuity. This enabled us to launch new products that help clients optimize images on their eCommerce product data pages (through our eFluence™ technology division), derive a one number predictive score for packaging effectiveness (our PackPower Score™), and even envision a future in which research will be conducted in the metaverse.
This experimental mindset in product development is driving our momentum for 2023. We are aiming to have 85% of our entire product stack integrated with AI by this time next year. Our guiding principle will be to focus these innovation initiatives on continuing to help clients achieve the most valuable moment in marketing: the purchase transaction that results from a consumer’s behavioral choice. We’ve got several new innovations coming in H1 so watch this space!
Profit is vital for a business, and a healthy balance sheet will be the foundation for sustainable growth that can fuel the first two Ps. It will enable agencies to expand geographically (as we have at Behaviorally) to serve our clients best in all the markets in which they do business. Running our businesses efficiently and profitably will be the best way to ensure our clients will continue to receive the best-in-class, reliable service they have come to expect from us. In 2023, Behaviorally will continue to automate costs out of the business so we can invest back to meet our product growth and staff development goals, while maintaining our high standards for customer success.
While we hope for the best for all our industry colleagues, we suspect that 2023 will bring consolidation within the insights industry. It might be a bumpy ride for some, who aren’t as prepared to achieve the 3rd P of Profitability as we are. But even in consolidation, there can be a silver lining for buyers. Bringing the best and the strongest together will mean better insights and better directional guidance for those we all serve.
Those who know me well, know that I am not one for platitudes. So, this is not a casual or glib recommendation to say our 4th P is Positivity. I sincerely believe that however challenging the signals suggest the next 12 months will be, insights consultancies who approach 2023 with energy and optimism will be the ones to survive, and indeed prosper. There is much to be excited and positive about: we can do amazing things with our terrific people, leveraging data, advanced technology, and the foundation of behavioral science!
I already see this positivity in the creativity and commitment of our Behaviorally staff. I see it in your ingenuity, your willingness to try new things, the way you interact with our clients. It is supremely gratifying that our teams already seem to have the instinct for positivity when it comes to getting things done and supporting our vision.
Speaking directly to our staff: you are truly some of the best and brightest I have had the pleasure to work with in my years in the insights business and I look forward to our journey in the upcoming year. Thank you again for all you’ve each done in 2022. Here’s leveraging the new 4Ps to achieve a great 2023. See you next year!
Based in New York, Alex Hunt is the CEO of Behaviorally. He is a recognized pioneer in the practical application of behavioral science to shopper marketing to help clients realize the most valuable moment in marketing: when a sales transaction occurs. Alex is acknowledged as an industry thought leader and a regular contributor to industry events as an advocate for the power of consumer insights to fuel commercial growth. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexHunt84 or connect with him on LinkedIn.