Editor's note: Nick Bonney is part of the Deep Blue Thinking and Checktrade team that are finalists of the 2022 Client/Supplier Collaboration Award which is a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. To find out more about the awards click here.

Far too often the chain of command between the end decision maker and the person working on the research is too long. Inevitably things get lost in translation and projects don’t end up having the impact they could or should have.

This has been one of the principal challenges I’ve tried to address since starting Deep Blue Thinking. Most of my clients do not have large insight functions and I am often working directly with a CMO or the leadership team. The work we’ve done with Checkatrade has been a great example of this, where research and insight has been just one of many functions our key marketing contacts have had to manage.

As a result, [Checkatrade] has  had to place a huge amount of trust in us to deliver for them and also expect us to have much more of an ongoing relationship rather than working with them on a project-to-project basis. This added responsibility makes the work so much more rewarding to work on because we can see the tangible impact that our research is having within the business.

The softer skills of trust, honesty and openness in communication are absolutely critical to a successful long-term collaboration.

Checkatrade was one of our first clients when I set up Deep Blue Thinking in 2018. From an agency perspective, the knowledge you are able to pick up over time and the ability to spot patterns across different data sets makes the work more interesting. The fact we have a solid foundation in our category tracking has enabled us to spot the impact of all the external disruption in the market, from COVID-19 to the current cost of living crisis. This means we’re focusing on the movements that matter...