As a strategist, your clients look to you to develop a solid strategy that leads to their next successful product launch or branding campaign. Essential to making a business case for your ideas is data. Identifying the insights you need requires sifting through an enormous amount of secondary data via search engines and subscription research services like eMarketer and Statista. This desk research involves a lot of time because it’s difficult to find the EXACT data point(s) you need to validate your strategy. You are often relying on multiple data points from various sources that may indirectly support your hypothesis but fails to provide the exact data point needed to build a compelling case.

This is where custom research steps in. Granted, I understand that many projects do not have the budgets to support custom research, although commissioning a study cost less than you think. Even if the budget is tight, conducting custom research should be considered because the relevance of the data significantly impacts your ability to deliver the desired results.

But, conducting custom research enables you to tell a more cohesive story about a given audience, thus mitigating the risk of faulty theory.

ThinkNow Powers Data-Driven Storytelling

As leaders in multicultural custom research, ThinkNow helps strategists across multiple industries make their business case through data-driven storytelling using the following three methods:

  • Let the data speak for itself – Sometimes, the data perfectly matches up with your hypothesis. And sometimes…it doesn’t. But we’re not in the business of having the data tell the story you want to tell. We’re in the business of letting the data speak for itself. But don’t worry. The right market research partner works with strategists to reevaluate the hypothesis and craft a new one rooted in facts from the research.
  • No two stories are the same – Storytelling has become a central selling point for market research companies to differentiate themselves. Large multinational market research companies, however, have realized that storytelling is not scalable. To fix this “problem,” they have created storytelling templates that analysts drop their data into and “POOF!” You have a story. Not so fast. Storytelling cannot be templatized. There are story arcs and story types. But each study is different, and each story should be treated as such. There are storytelling products on the market that promise quick turnaround times. But buyer beware. When building a long-lasting relationship with your client is at stake, taking the easy road isn’t worth the risk. Don’t rely on templates to tell a brand’s story through data. Customization is worth the extra effort.
  • Two authors are better than one – When crafting the story, it is critical to work closely with your market research partner. No one knows what you’re trying to say better than you, the strategist. Input from the questionnaire design process down to the composition of the report is critical to creating a winning story. This doesn’t mean you’ll be doing the heavy lifting—quite the opposite. A trusted market research partner knows how to help you articulate the thoughts in your head to ensure the delivery of data that will help you make the strongest business case for your client’s brand.

Final Thoughts

Storytelling isn’t something that comes quickly. You can’t get it from a template. You can’t get it from using a search engine. To build credibility with clients that lead to sustained business for your agency, you’ll need a market research partner that knows the importance of building a strong story, and most importantly, how to give you the foundational data to support it.