Tag Archives: actionable

Voxpopme 8: Two key tips or tricks for communicating insights that resonate with the C-Suite and drive real results

Along with a group of market resevoxpopme logoarchers from around the world, I was asked to participate in Voxpopme Perspectives – an initiative wherein insights industry experts share ideas about a variety of topics via video. You can read more about it here or watch the videos here. Viewers can then reach out over Twitter or upload their own video response. I’m more of a writer so you’ll catch me blogging rather than vlogging. 🙂

Episode 8: Share two key tips or tricks you have for communicating insights that resonate with the C-Suite and drive real results.

Alrighty, tip number one: Sample Sizes.

The reasons for choosing sample sizes are a foreign concept to many people, leaders included. Many people depend on you to provide helpful guidance when it comes understanding what an appropriate sample size is, the drawbacks of those sizes, and how results can be interpreted given those choices. One tip I’ve used is to give them specific examples of what might and might not be statistically significant when the results do come through. For instance, rather than sharing the margin of error around a specific sample size, instead I’ll say something like:

With this sample size, a result of 30% would be statistically different from 37% but statistically the same as 36%. Are you prepared to choose a winning concept that is preferred by 30% of people rather than by 36% of people?

Tip number two: actionability.

As someone who loves raw data, cleaned data, charted data, graphed data, and tabled data, sometimes it’s hard to take the next step and make the data useable and actionable. But business leaders don’t always care about individual data points. They may not even be concerned with summaries of the results. What they really want is your informed opinion about what the data actually mean, and the appropriate options that should be considered as a result of the data. So, beyond reporting that 30% of people like a certain thing, use your understanding of the rest of the results to indicate why they like a certain thing, why they might not like it, the implications of moving forward (or not) with that thing, and how that choice might affect other products on the market already. Take the data as far forward as you possibly can in order to give them fodder to spark further ideas.

Bonus tip!

Know your own weaknesses. I know that data visualization is not my strength. When I need data to be visualized well so that it is understandable by everyone, from junior to senior and expert to newbie, my only option is to find an expert. And here’s an example of how an expert would illustrate missing data. I would have never thought to do it like but look at how effective it is. It’s worth the extra cost.



How to Create Actionable Results out of Nothing #MRX

The brain

Actionability. One of the best buzzwords we have at our disposable. So many research projects are lacking in so much actionability, and while there may not be an app for that,there certainly is a cure for that. Here’s the two step cure:

  1. Start every research project with a specific research objective. Not “see what you can find” but rather “which colour do consumers prefer.”
  2. Use your creative brain. Every single answer to a specific research objective is screaming an actionable outcome at you. If your data says consumers hate the colour black – Don’t use black! If your data says something is too salty – Put less salt!

In so many cases, complaints about the lack of actionable results simply come back to the failure to apply a creative brain to data. So get the creative juices flowing and you’ll see, yes, it IS that easy.

In Search of Actionable Insights from Social Media Data

Logo for the Addicted to Social Media Blog

Most people recognize the incredible potential of the internet and social media data to collect and elicit opinions about millions of topics from millions of people. Instead of using traditional market research methods to seek out target audiences and ask them specific questions, one need only search for opinions in the social media space. Even better, there are myriad tools available to aggregate and summarize those opinions for you. Unfortunately,  I consistently hear one common complaint – the data and the results are not actionable.

In many cases, these complaints are unwarranted and avoidable. Let me take you through three scenarios.

1) The data truly are not actionable.  The social media aggregation tool has collected every piece of information into one single space but failed to bucket, or worse properly bucket, the data into usable sections. Without additional manual intervention, the data cannot be easily separated into meaningful units, such as product colours, product features, or product flaws. Social media data products that require hours and days of manual work are about as good as manually searching the internet. Not actionable? Agreed. Drop the tool immediately and move on.

2) The data are actionable but you aren’t an experienced data user. This second scenario is far more common as social media data often lands in the lap of people who have little or no experience with market research data such as surveys or focus groups. Even in cases where the data has been bucketed into product features such as wifi, coupons, colours, shapes, and flavours, it can be very difficult to see how “positive sentiment towards red” and “negative sentiment towards cinnamon” is an actionable result. Not actionable? Disagree. You have two options here. First, THINK HARD, don’t be lazy, don’t think it’s too difficult, don’t think it’s impossible, dig into the data and stir up those brain waves. Second, find a trusted and experienced market research professional to help you with the data. This is what they do all day, every day, and they know how to do it.

3) The data are actionable and you are an experienced data user. Here we have the intersection of two wonderful worlds. First, we have a social media data aggregation tool that validly buckets comments, status updates, and opinions into clear groups. Second, we have data users who have years of experience interpreting “I prefer this product in red” and “I disliked the cinnamon flavour” for clients.  When these two attributes join together, there is no such thing as unactionable data. Every piece of data is in line to become an actionable insight.

Your Research Budget Just Went Down the Toilet #li

Three sets of data plotted using pie charts an...

Image via Wikipedia

Ever wondered whether its worthwhile to do market research? Here are some things to think about.

1) Do you plan to make changes as a result of the research results? Are you planning to make a specific change regardless of what the research will tell you? Why take the time and money to run a study if you know you won’t actually do anything as a result of the findings, or if you’re going to do something different anyways. I don’t know how many times I’ve encountered this stumbling block!
2) Do you have a budget to implement potential changes? If your research budget is the entire budget, why waste your time and money. Change your tactic so that whatever you are researching can actually be followed through to completion.
3) Are the higher-ups willing to implement a change that they weren’t already expecting? Are they really open to new ideas? Do they just want you to tell them what they already know? Make them a pie chart. That’ll do.
4) Are you gathering more data than you will actually use? Refer to Q1. If you aren’t using and acting on it, why waste your time and money on it?

Get only the research you need. Everything else is money down the toilet.


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