Quirk’s held their 2021 Virtual Global Event last week and some major insights trends were evident amongst the sessions including one on defining and diagnosing the digital shopping journey from Behaviorally’s Ruben Nazario (Vice President, Product Lead & Innovation). While many of these trends were already evident in the past, they were vastly accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic and definitely warranted revisiting.
The 3 most evident trends included:
- Be Agile: “Cheaper”, “Faster”, and “Better” are Just Table Stakes
The shopper landscape is changing rapidly, and brands must shift and pivot to meet consumers where they are. Therefore, insights teams are feeling the added pressure to have answers quickly – during a client panel, PepsiCo and Clorox both discussed the added pressure on their roles and on the insights department in particular. Cotton Incorporated’s session was even titled, “I want to see numbers yesterday!” underscoring the need for quick turn-around surveys.
More than ever, all insights suppliers need to be fast, flexible, agile, and simply just better. There are no longer the “best two out of three” scenarios. Suppliers have to be able to tick all the boxes to meet the needs of insights teams.
This is now just table stakes and expected from everyone. If you cannot meet the criteria and are doing studies that take weeks to provide results, expect to be left in the dust.
Going digital and looking to technology to help deliver insights is the key. For instance, Coca-Cola presented a case for leveraging bot-enabled research and other sessions focused on promise around harnessing AI and Big Machine learning. Lockdowns have shown us all how we can depend on technology to stay connected and use it to our benefit assist in every facet of our lives – including consumer and shopper insights understanding.
- Connecting with Consumers is Still Important
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, research had to go digital. At the same time, brand insights teams still want the capability to connect and communicate directly with consumers qualitatively. Numerous sessions focused on incorporating video in research, allowing suppliers to deliver insights that engage with the stakeholders and get closer to the consumer. Video also brings the consumer voice to life and “puts a face to the name” in a way previously only available in person. Though a lot of quantitative research has gone completely online, there is still a longing amongst insights teams to bundle it with other capabilities, like in-person qualitative research or technology such as eye-tracking and facial coding. The need to connect is inherently human and in research, likely to remain part of the research toolkit.
After the unprecedented year we’ve had, brands are now realizing a lot of what they did in the past was more reactive than proactive, sometimes neglecting what the future may bring. Moving forward now, insights teams know there is pressure to be more predictive and projective, always looking to the horizon to stay ahead and continue driving sales growth. Several sessions revolved around the question of what the future of our lives, and particularly consumer insights, might look like. Reckitt Benckiser’s presentation discussed how they are redefining the sexual well-being landscape by employing new, digital and more inclusive research methodologies to talk to consumers about their needs in certain historically taboo categories to truly glean accurate insights. Mars Foods presented with Watch Me Think about how the role of insights has become decidedly about foresight if we want to keep our jobs. Brands are focused on what is coming next – and the insights industry needs to be, also.
Many of these messages we have heard before. However, 2020 was the year that proved the insights industry cannot be all about talk, but rather, about action. Here at Behaviorally (Formerly PRS), when we re-branded earlier this year, we committed to a digital-first approach coupled with our behavioral framework and legacy of shopper marketing expertise to drive agile growth for clients. This future-forward viewpoint is totally aligned with what we saw at the Quirk’s event and what our clients are looking to us to provide as trusted advisors.
Janice Lai is the Marketing Director of Behaviorally (formerly PRS) and leads the company’s marketing efforts. She has been with the Company since 2010, having escaped law school. Ask her for recommendations on the best local restaurants (available for take-out and delivery during COVID lockdown) or how she got her mortuary sciences degree.
Follow her on Twitter @iamJaniceLai or connect with her on LinkedIn.