True collaboration: taking clients along on the insights journey

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” 
― Marcel Proust

We talk a lot in market research about “uncovering the insights” from our data. What is this if not the classic definition of what Proust calls a “voyage of discovery?” It’s exciting, appealing to the parts of our human nature that are wired to seek new frontiers and explore new pathways. The best part is that conducting this immensely satisfying work delivers real-world, tangible benefits to our clients. How lucky are we?  

As technology use increases to help us do our jobs more efficiently, we can create more time to seek out what I call the “dopamine hit” of insight discovery. Automation has taken on some of the heavy lifting in our daily jobs - such as data collection, integration, and processing - leaving us the space we need to really dig in and find those “a-ha” moments within the information we’ve gathered. After we create beautiful visualizations with these insights (often also with the help of technology), we then excitedly unveil them to our clients. What a rush! 

But what if we invite our clients on this voyage with us? We are often so focused on delivering what we’ve discovered to our clients that sometimes we forget to include them in the process. They miss out on the excitement of helping to uncover those insights. Their participation can only add to the thrill of finding something unexpected, unique, or noteworthy. We don’t want to deny them this experience. It also makes good sense from a practical standpoint. Involving clients earlier and more often in the research process means they are more likely to take ownership of the insights, share with their stakeholders, and positively affect business outcomes. 

Here again, the right technology comes into play. Partnerships like this are made easier with modern tools that allow research data and visualizations to be shared and modified more easily between agency and client. Agencies can share findings and encourage clients to discuss and comment – even to dive into the data themselves and have a play! Agencies and clients can collaborate to investigate different views of the data or try different ways of visualizing the data in a relaxed, iterative process. These kinds of solutions become the vehicles that take us on our exciting voyage together. 

Here are some fundamental reasons why traveling together to uncover insights makes good sense: 

  • Two minds are better than one: More minds focused on the same problem increases the likelihood of discovering something significant.
  • Internal perspective: Clients can connect research data with their knowledge of the subtler, more nuanced aspects of their business – knowledge that only comes from being immersed in their business day in and day out
  • Relationship nurturing: Sharing the process helps to strengthen our partnership, based on mutual respect and a commitment to reaching our common goals

The discovery of insights is a powerful moment in our work as market researchers. We bring the technical skills and expertise to the table, while our clients are looking to find the touchpoints that will positively affect their business. We need to work with our clients to discover powerful insights together and ensure we share the excitement that comes with uncovering them. This will help us and our clients see the data with “new eyes.”


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