Making the Strategic A&U Agile: GRIT Commentary

Jul 11, 2019

Growing revenue in an agile way is a strategic priority for most companies; there’s an abundance of data supporting this. GRIT reported an increase from 36% to 51% for those who said their organization is always focused on future growth strategies, one of the largest changes of any measure. To fuel these strategies, marketers often turn to attitudes and usage (A&U) studies to understand market or growth opportunities by understanding whom to target, with what and how, and what competitive dynamic exists. In the last four years, the percentage of market research budgets for A&Us has more than doubled, from 5% to 12% (source: ESOMAR), while the need for agility has gone from being the exclusive domain of software developers to a required attitude and capability to stay competitive. And consumer insights is no different. Based on a recent survey we conducted, 71% of consumer insights professionals used agile market research in the last six months. The issue is agility is not traditionally associated with strategic research.

To explore this, let’s remember where we’ve seen agile research predominantly applied in market research. Since 2012, it’s gained significant traction. In this first wave, automation took center stage and was applied to tactical research like copy and concept testing, both standardized studies with straightforward design and analyses. While budgets for these studies remained stagnant over the last four years at 2%, clients are doing significantly higher volumes of testing as they’re able to do more with the same budget, iterating toward success versus only testing for validation.

So, what if strategic research like the A&U was more accessible and agile? We could conduct it more often, faster, and make an enormous impact.

The ideal agile strategic research solutions must encompass the following:

  • Experts who design studies, weaving in unique business context, to meet client business objectives. Sixty-nine percent of insights buyers have understanding of goals and strategies as a top priority.
  • A robust, flexible technology platform that enables:
    • Configurable study design for questions and consumer segments studied.
    • A mixed methodology approach (qual, quant, primary, third party data, etc.) that answers who, what, where, when, why, and how.
    • Real-time data cuts to help researchers—using multiple methodologies—identify audience themes for persuasive storytelling.

These elements enable strategic research, like the A&U, to exploit market opportunities more often. As an example, one of our clients needed to prove source of volume for a new product innovation, including cannibalization risks for existing SKUs. Through survey and behavioral data analysis they were able to identify and profile the audience who would drive their growth, understanding their needs, interests, and preferences. To gauge product reactions, our team also analyzed qualitative video testimonials among the potential switchers, highlighting the most important product features and benefits to focus on. In two weeks, for the price of a traditional copy test, our client was able to answer the right questions in a holistic manner and identify sources of incremental revenue to gain a competitive edge, which will allow them to bring a compelling case to their retail partners.

An increasing amount of budget dollars will continue to move toward more strategic research to identify truly proprietary growth opportunities. Those able to conduct this research with agility will reap the benefits of this, much like we’ve seen with more tactical research. Bringing agile strategic research to growth initiatives is the next wave of agile, wherein we help businesses achieve success with more clarity and ease than ever before.

Written By

Matt Warta

Matt Warta


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