Podcast: Jason Jacobson says "less is more" when it comes to data

Jason Jacobson, Director of Consumer Insights at Woodside Homes joined us to talk about how to sift through the deluge, present the most impactful data to stakeholders and have a greater impact on business decisions.

Our guest Jason Jacobson, Director of Consumer Insights at Woodside Homes, says that less data, and going deeper into the analysis of that data, is actually more. While this may not be a common view in the industry, Jason goes on during the podcast to explain exactly what he means. Coming to his current role, on the client side, after more than two decades of agency-side experience gives him a unique perspective.

He says that while he was on the supplier side of the research equation, there was a lot of focus on “volume”, whereas after moving over to the client side he saw that this wasn’t necessarily the best course of action. He’s found that he only has a “limited amount of opportunities to connect with stakeholders, only so many moments to really impact decisions and make insights a value-add.” Jason takes advantage of these moments, by delving deeper into the data and presenting the most impactful insights. Because most stakeholders and company leaders have so many things on their plates, making sure that the insights and data that are presented are immersive and provide input that will help them tackle real business challenges.

Jason says that he only gets so much time with leadership teams and “it's better if I just provide them a few nuggets and direction that will help them do their job better, as opposed to a firehose of information where at some point they just turn it off and experience data paralysis.  I'd rather be very mindful of their time and also my own time, so I can be expert surrounding in the information that I have, so I can guide them in a better way.” He says that packaging the data in a way that a non-data user can use it to make decisions and providing targeted insights will help them more and have greater impact. Jason says making a connection, humanizing the research and bringing it to life can help create those “a-ha” moments when presenting insights and data.

With so much data out there, stored in data lakes and more, we must take a step back to really make the right data work for our businesses. With many DIY vendors and others promising quick, fast, easy insights and agile research, we must be careful in the use of technology and continue to put quality first. Technology needs to answer business questions and complement our work as insights professionals in delivering what stakeholders need the most to do their work and make them “champions”.

His insights into exactly how to captivate and engage company leadership with the work that he’s doing as a market researcher are invaluable. He talks about specific ways to get a room interested in the data you are presenting in order to prove the value in positively impacting business outcomes.  

Jason then touches on the future of market research and some of the changes to the space that are on the horizon. He says that everything we know from behavior science is that a huge percentage of decisions are made based on emotion. Surveys need to change to reflect this reality – their format hasn’t changed much in the 25 years he’s been in the business. He thinks the industry will leverage behavioral and neuroscience techniques more often so we can better understand feelings – measuring emotional connection in the response someone has. He also touches on AI-driven, neuroscience-backed image research that can help predict emotional response to specific images. Our industry needs to have a deep human understanding and survey tools need to measure how people actually make decisions.

Tune in to hear more of our great discussion with Jason, what he thinks we need to do with surveys to make them more impactful, how to take action on the right data and much more.

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