Podcast: Simon Chadwick Joins us to talk about technology and trends in the insights space

Simon Chadwick draws on 40 years of guiding and managing international market research organizations of various sizes and stages to share with us about balancing the use of technology for better understanding

We were honored to host Simon Chadwick on our podcast. He wears many hats and is Managing Partner at Cambiar Consulting, Fellow of the Market Research Society, former Chairman and current Laureate of the Insights Association, and Editor-in-Chief of Research World, ESOMAR’s global magazine. With 40 years of guiding and managing international organizations of various sizes and stages, Simon’s advice and counsel has helped many companies increase their value – to stakeholders, investors and clients.

He spoke with us about the use of technology in the market research space, and being aware of its strengths - and short-comings when seeking to cultivate understanding. Simon says, “Technology does not bring about change in insights by itself. Change starts with the needs of the clients, which means having a deep understanding of the world they live in.” Without this understanding, it’s hard to know which technologies help, and which hinder.

Simon says that there is a persistent dream out there that things such as behavioral analytics, a bunch of data scientists and an AI-driven data lake, will give companies all the data they need to understand customers and the market. Another dream is that research can be done by anyone, using one of the many DIY market research platforms that are available today. The old adage “garbage in garbage out” applies here. Insights professionals know that there is a lot more to it than that, if you want to get accurate, quality data. These dreams can be dangerous; revolving around technology, even if technology isn’t responsible for the bad outcomes that can ensue.

He then goes on to talk about some of the changes and pressures that the insights space is facing today. COVID changed the model surrounding insights, especially as consumer behavior started to change quickly. Insights functions have taken center stage when it comes to strategic decision-making, as upper management realizes that the right insights can help guide the business in a changing environment and provide competitive advantage. Companies realized that they needed real-time information, and predictive analytics as well, boosting the value surrounding insights and market research. 

However, there has been a tradeoff. This environment led to the use of more self-serve platforms, and insourcing. This was pursued with the idea of freeing up time and money, and companies knew they had to move quickly. This led to greater experimentation, as companies sought out technology partners and solutions that could help them accomplish their goals. But it needs to be accomplished in the right manner. 

Simon believes that companies should try not to reinvent the wheel, or build their own systems in-house, when there are expert partners out there that have already done it, and done it well. He says the key to using technology today is intelligent partnering - seeking out partners with the right solution to provide real advantages. And then build on those systems to make something unique that handles the specific needs of your company.

During the interview, he also touches on the massive growth in the industry, including the influx of investment dollars, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and more. It’s changing the insights ecosystem, creating new competition and new objectives from owners. 

So, how can organizations get their technology investment right, and positively impact the value and outcomes from the insights teams? Simon lays it out during the podcast. Listen here

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