When it comes to insights, don’t bury the lede

“How many teams still deliver 50+ page PDF results?” The question was asked on Twitter by a researcher who works for YouGov, who then followed up with, “I’ve seen and had to read through an 80 page report…”

How you choose to disseminate your insights can be just as important as the insights themselves. You have spent weeks or months working on a research project and have powerful insights to present to your client or C-Suite. You want your insights to be turned into actions.

How do you ensure that this happens? Burying the lede is a common trope in news media, but it’s also something that can easily happen with insights, if you’re providing a deluge of information in one hit. Consider, too, that your insights may well impact divisions and departments who may not have access to the entire set of documentation; what if your finding about Product X development is only seen by marketing or C-Suite and never reaches the staff responsible for Product X? It’s a missed opportunity for all involved.

The MR sector, like others, is still recovering from the pandemic. Clients are demanding data and insights as they attempt to re-organise brands and businesses. Short, digestible, bite-sized insights which offer genuine clarity and direction must surely be preferable to swatches of paperwork or PDFs where key findings may be hidden away. Consider adding additional time to the end of the project timetable, to allow you more time to explain your insights to stakeholders; remember that the people you dealt with on the project may not be the people affected by its insights. The more involved you are in disseminating the insights to all stakeholders, the greater the chance that they will be actioned.

Talk the talk

Problem: The client didn’t seem to ‘get’ the insights at all

If you’ve spent enough time with your client then, hopefully, you now understand how they communicate or how they present information to you. A simple way to ensure your insights are understood is to mimic their own, in-house style of comms. Providing your insights in the way they themselves communicate may well break through barriers much more easily than using your own in-house methods of presentation. Leaning in to that may make all the difference.

Handing over 50+ pages of PDF and hoping the client acts upon the insights contained therein is not a good way of securing a long-term relationship. Presenting easily understood, bite-sized insights that are obviously actionable as part of a continuing process of insight generation may well be.

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