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Moving Marketing Research out of Marketing

Paul Gaudette, one of the co-founders of Dig, provides his point of view on a trend that will impact research in 2019: the need for insights to predict behaviour — not attitudes.

Market research and consumer insights has long been positioned as a ‘marketing services’ function, providing insights primarily to aid marketing. But increasingly our client teams are required to work across divisions to develop strategies and drive growth. Marketing, operations, finance, sales need to work collaboratively, and they require consumer insights to support them in their efforts.

Marketing teams have tended to value the ability of market research to understand what consumers THINK – are they aware of the advertising? How do they view the brand? Those outside of marketing tend to be more focused on  predictions of what consumers will DO so they can accurately project the impact of new strategies.

Cross-functional teams will look to market research and insights professionals to provide solutions to help explain what the consumer will do with an in-market change – whether that is launching a new product/service, removing a product/service, or changing an existing product/service – and translate that effect into metrics that the entire business will understand: revenue, share, volume.  “Oh, and how quickly can you give us those results?”

Since Dig opened its doors in 2010, we’ve focused on predicting everyday purchase decisions. We use experimental designs that mimic in-market realities and model the trade-offs that consumers make.  We have invested heavily in advancing our understanding of consumer behaviours, tying in behavioural economic principles to develop approaches that will answer that key question – what will consumers DO.  How many will buy a new product? What price will they pay? What will it replace? Would we steal share or cannibalize our existing business?

These are complex questions and harder to answer than simply what consumers think. But we know they are the crucial questions. That is why we have focused on providing clear answers to them. And thanks to our investment in developing data collection and analysis technology we are doing it now faster than ever.

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