With our Chicago Quirk’s Event just behind us at the time of this writing in early April, we’re halfway through our four-event schedule for 2023. Our return to California for our Los Angeles-area event in February (first time back since 2018) was a blast and if we couldn’t bask in balmy temps, thanks to some wild weather, we at least felt the warmth of an appreciative group of West Coast corporate researchers and vendors, who were energized by two days of learning and camaraderie.

Recapping our events is always a bit hard because we don’t organize our gatherings around topic tracks and I never want to force together a bunch of loosely related observations just for the sake of it. Instead, I thought it best to pass along a few of the disparate tips and strategies that those on stage imparted in Burbank.

When presenting results to internal audiences, PepsiCo’s Director of Consumer Insights Laura Saeva said, make things as simple as possible. Let them know the research work was rigorous – no need to dumb things down – but feel free to leave out the methodological detail so the focus is on the findings and their implications.

Echoes of that point came in a panel from researchers Mike Swiontkowski (Blizzard Entertainment), Dave Pierzchala (Intuit) and Laura-Lynn Freck (Zevia) on strategies for answering your organization’s questions. Internal audiences don’t always need to or even want to know all about the methodologies, Swiontkowski said, adding, “What they need to know is, can I trust [the research findings] and can I trust you, the researcher?” Building that trust – in the internal research process and in the data that results from it – breeds confidence now and in the future.

Cristian Young, AVP insights and knowledge management at AT&T, offered a useful definition of insights as part of his larger discussion on the company’s launch of a knowledge management system. There can often be different internal views of what an insight is and to avoid wasting time hashing out those differences, Young said it’s been helpful to agree on one at the outset. Here is the option he and his team settled on: Insights are simplified and compelling narratives based on research findings or analyses that deepen understanding and enable decision-making.

During her panel with Glassdoor’s Bonnie Chiurazzi and BCG X’s Jordan Hopson, Alanna Shipley, head of audience insights at DoorDash, said that once a quarter, she brings in new and prospective vendors to get to know them and their capabilities before a specific need arises so that options are at the ready down the line. She also asks current vendors to put effort into understanding DoorDash’s business, so that when it comes time to report out results, the whole team looks smarter – the vendor for being aware of the client’s business needs and the internal team for having chosen a well-informed vendor partner.

In a solo speaking session, Intuit’s Pierzchala also implored prospective vendors to do the basic step of visiting the potential client’s website to familiarize themselves with product offerings – a not unfamiliar request that’s been echoed by many respondents to our annual Q Report corporate researcher surveys over the years. Vendor sales teams, do your homework!

And finally, I hesitate the use the word “tips” anywhere near a discussion of the session featuring two researchers from Manscaped, the (choosing my word order carefully here) male grooming tool company, though doing so would be right in line with the pun- and double-entendre-heavy session, which was probably the funniest and most wince-inducing 30 minutes our industry has ever witnessed. Major props to Manscaped good sports Monica Aguilo and Tori Herman for playing their parts in the heavily scripted exchanges with Ipsos’s David Bilicic and giving the SRO audience good advice on how to conduct smart research when your work is in danger of being derailed by nervous jokes from everyone involved. As a two-person insights team they’ve learned to make a difference by creating awareness of the work they are doing by functioning as internal truth tellers, by cultivating internal research champions to grow support for the insights process and by socializing their research findings through C-suite road shows and share-outs of findings.