Time crunch: 4 things you should be doing with your data

Zontziry 'Z' Johnson

If you’re a market research or insights professional, you’ve probably heard or said this phrase “If only I had the time…” one too many times.

But truly, how often have you sat at your desk at the end of the day and wondered, “What did I actually accomplish today?”

From trying to get studies up and running, to switching to data reviews, to meeting with stakeholders, it’s hard to spend time truly diving into your research data. And on top of that, you’re likely trying to get to a place where you’re viewed as a strategic partner by stakeholders — empowering and giving them what they need to make informed decisions, while always keeping an eye on the bigger picture (and consumer!).

This is a daily struggle. If you took a few minutes to write a wishlist of things you’d like to do as a brand-side insights professional, I’m sure it could become seemingly endless.

In this article, I’ll highlight the top four things you may not typically have time for, but certainly should be doing with your data.

1. Launch more studies!

While you may turn to more sophisticated tools that take some of the burden off you, it doesn't mean you'll have time to launch all those studies stakeholders send your way.

You’re lucky you got to escape to grab a bite somewhere around mid-day. 2pm still counts as mid-day, right?

However, getting those studies out the door means you’ll have the direction you need to give your stakeholders for their upcoming product pipeline. And if you work backwards from that upcoming pipeline meeting to create the project plan….let’s just say those studies definitely need to launch today.

(Note to self: stock up on those quick protein bars so you eat lunch earlier.)

2. Dig deeeeep

When was the last time you were able to take a few hours to just dig into the data from your last study? I’ll wait.

Known in some circles as a “fishing expedition,” it’s more likely you’ll get time to actually go fishing than it is that you’ll get time to fish for insights in the data from your projects.

But it's still so important to gain that full understanding of the data that’s in front of you. Without the full view, how are you going to paint the picture for your stakeholders and help them better understand the meaning behind the data?

There’s no doubt it's worth the time, though typically, there’s not enough time in the day. But just imagine the insight you could be wielding if you could get that in-depth dive in every time? It gives me chills.

3. Organize and combine those projects

Don’t you wish your data had a longer shelf life? It often feels like by the time you’ve delivered recommendations from one study, it’s time to spin up another study to see what’s changed — or to ask the same business question you’re pretty certain you asked last year, but can’t find time to hunt down that report. And don’t even get me started on combining projects run by you and your teammates.

Theoretically, all that time spent standardizing questions and audiences means you can combine projects across the department. The ability to organize the data and projects you’ve run with others would likely make all lives on your team easier in a way that’s almost unfathomable! Again, worth it, but who’s got time for that?

4. Tag, tag, tag

Like many organizations, I’m sure your internal research operations team keeps sending email reminders to tag your projects.

Of course, that all makes sense — why wouldn’t you want to make all of the work your team does more easily searched? (See above about finding the time to hunt down last year’s report.)

But most of the time, you have to choose between the nice-to-haves and the need-to-haves. And what typically outweighs tagging all those projects? Sitting down in your stakeholder’s monthly business review as the voice of the customer.

So how can you get to the world of nice-to-haves?

Now that you’re dreaming of a simpler life where you can slice and dice data, extract rich insights from multiple projects, and otherwise make the most of your work, your dream doesn’t have to die just yet. Here are three key ways to get the extra time you need:

1. Ask why!

Let’s face it, it’s not always clear why something is being asked for. But getting at the root cause of a question can inform the best and most efficient approach to an answer.

2. Leverage your analytics platform in real time

It’s controversial, we know, but the simplest idea is often the right one. If you are spending too much time building decks, try to get away from them when you can.

You can save time by leveraging an analytics platform with crosstabs, charting, filtering, and analysis — particularly if you can pull it up in the moment of need. It may be a cultural shift for your organization, but as long as you are getting the answer they need when they need it, the shift should be an easy sell.

3. Get expert help

This may seem like a shameless plug, but we’ve created a new service that’s truly geared to help you finally achieve all those things you’ve never had the time for.

Zappi Consulting matches you with experienced researchers, known as Zappi Experts, who aren’t just experts on Zappi’s tools, but also highly experienced in insights across areas like product development and ad testing.

Zappi Experts can do everything from setting up and launching a project to taking the time to dig into the data (and give you the gold you know is in there!) but just don’t have time to find.

If you're ready to start getting the most out of your research data, learn more about Zappi Consulting.

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