Using marketing research tools to enhance internal efficiency 

Editor’s note: Thor Olof Philogéne is CEO and founder of technology company Stravito. 

Consumer needs and expectations are changing faster than ever, and companies must adapt and evolve if they wish to maintain relevance and market share. As insights into consumer and market behaviors and trends have become increasingly necessary to make informed business decisions, the tools used to gather insights have improved dramatically. 

Today, businesses can leverage the power of AI to automate repetitive research processes and help centralize insights that can be discovered, shared and reused across global enterprises. 

With the rise of user-friendly enterprise technology, this is the age of democratizing insights. An age in which companies can increase the value of their collected research and data by making it available to stakeholders across the entire organization. Below I have compiled three things organizations can do today to maximize the impact of their insights, to help business leaders identify and address gaps or bottlenecks with existing research use. 

1. Augment the human expertise.

The world we live in (and by extension, the world we work in), is becoming increasingly tech-forward. This means that the expectations regarding the quality of tech are shifting. While concerns about technology making human skills irrelevant are understandable, the reality is that the right tech exists to enhance human expertise, not to replace it.

Upskilling employees to ensure they are equipped with the digital skills needed to navigate new technology and understand the benefits of it is vital here. 

As shared by professor’s Tsedal Neeley and Paul Leonardi in the Harvard Business Review, employees need to be motivated to use their skills to create new opportunities. They need a digital mind-set to understand how data, algorithms and AI can open up new possibilities, and find success in a world fueled by digital intelligence and insight.

Many organizations are actively engaging in digital transformation programs to achieve this, ensuring employees have the training and confidence needed to navigate digital tools. Research suggests employees with digital skills are more successful in their jobs and have higher satisfaction at work among other positive outcomes. 

Insights management platforms can be used as one example of technology existing not to replace individuals, but instead provide digital tools designed to augment expertise. In the broadest sense, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning help quickly deliver valuable insights to individuals within the company who can then interpret them to better understand the wants, needs and desires of consumers, enabling companies to make more informed business decisions.

Just as e-mail greatly increased the speed of collaboration and information sharing, technology can make sharing insights exponentially faster and enable rapid business responses to fluid market conditions.

2. Empower through self-service access.

Whether individuals are in a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop, the technology they rely on becomes their workplace. Consequently, it’s crucial that any software or service be readily accessible to appropriate team members regardless of physical location. 

Empowering more departments or individuals to store, discover and share their research can also free up time for dedicated insights teams, as well as encourage the adoption of an insights-led culture. 

3. Choose tech people want to use.

Any company can give more individuals access to data technology, but that’s only the first step. The next component of a successful insights program is ensuring the tools and information provided to individuals are easy to use, applicable to the needs of various departments and are free of roadblocks that could discourage frequent use. 

When using an advanced technology such as AI, companies should ensure the experience is simple and the programs are easy to use. Once a solution is proven to be effective and valuable, individuals are likely to recognize the time savings and assistance the solution provides.

Individuals may resist using any new program if they feel it makes tasks more complicated or less efficient. Organizations need to choose and implement technology – including analytics and data solutions – that their employees want to use. A technology that provides a user-friendly, simplified experience is much more likely to drive continuous high usage and adoption rates, while a technology that confuses individuals or introduces onerous new procedures can have the opposite effect. 

Measurement is also essential. Leaders must ensure that any new technology improves both team productivity and efficiency. Analyzing results, such as monthly unique users and time spent using the technology, can help measure usage. Conducting research to gather feedback from employees is also essential. Employee research can help leaders evaluate how employees feel about the technology and also if they have suggestions or recommendations for further improvements and enhancements. 

Using research and insights to meet market demands 

When the market shifts, make sure you’re ready to shift with it.

As the economic climate continues to ebb and flow, businesses that can quickly locate, reuse and recycle highly relevant insights are not only more likely to remain close to their consumers wants, needs and desires, but also more ready to change tactics or strategies based on immediate market demands. 

Today’s largest, most successful business models rely on collecting, organizing, analyzing and applying insights on a daily basis across a wide range of concerns and business pursuits. The lessons demonstrated by companies such as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix show the power of insights can be applied to virtually every industry, at every scale. With the right implementation and use of available technologies, agile companies can turn insights into action to ensure the next time the market shifts, they are ready to shift with it.