The Benefits of Agile Research

Using Agile Best-Practices to Meet Nimble, Niche and Quality Consumer Research Needs 

Using Agile Best Practices for Nimble, Quality Research

In 2020, ENGINE Insights began a journey to transform into a tech-enabled insights agency that understood the importance of experience and expertise. One that was devoted to data quality and methodological rigor, though is nimble and fast in order to meet our clients’ demands. One that was data agnostic, taking advantage of attitudinal, behavioral, and business data, with a wide toolkit and a deep bench to integrate and get meaning from data from multiple sources, from surveys to bid streams. We set out to build a truly agile research agency, one that could handle most anything a brand could need to drive growth. All delivered by a modern service model that can dial up or down as a client needs it, with experienced, subject-matter experts to guide research design who understand the implications of the insights we uncover.  

So how did we go about this transformation, and where does it stand today? The first thing we did was continue to invest in two key areas: technology and people. 

Agile Components: Investing in Technology and People 

DIY Platforms 

On the technology side, we brought one of the leading DIY survey software platforms in-house. We believe we can provide clients greater value and flexibility when we have hands-on keyboards of the tools they are being asked to use from their corporate leaders. With this investment, we can provide skilled support to clients who do have DIY platforms. Our clients also tap into our skilled team to meet demand, or when they run into trouble implanting a project on their own, we can quickly step in to help. For clients who do not have access to DIY tools, ENGINE provides clients access to an assisted-DIY, with the cost and timing benefits of DIY without the upfront investment, and with subject matter experts to guide the way. We invested further in augmenting these existing tools with ENGINE proprietary data quality and efficiency tools, such as our Sample Balancer, which ensures a representative sample is screened in every survey we field. We also invested in tools to help us better integrate and analyze data. Data Science tools, text analytics, dashboards, and machine learning tools were integrated into our workstreams. These tools help our clients by providing advanced analytics fast, in digestible ways they can easily take action on.  

People Training and Development 

On the people side, we invested in skills training and development across the business. In addition to technical training on our new tools, ENGINE invested in skills training on how to deliver valuable insights and business recommendations from insights derived from multiple data streams, and across platforms such as qual, secondary research, survey data, and behavioral data such as clickstream and business outcomes. Our teams operate around a fit-for-purpose principle – ENGINE brings the most relevant people and tools to each individual engagement, and does not bloat projects with unnecessary bells and whistles. We want to be able to provide full-service, custom research solutions when needed and our assisted do-it-yourself service when clients want to do more on their own. We determine the service level with our clients as we scope the project, ensuring the right level of service for each engagement.  

The Benefits of Agile Research 

Three ways our clients have benefited from ENGINE’s evolution: 

  1. Speed: Our agile approach provides rich insights for clients significantly faster than before. Combined secondary, qual, and quant projects are conducted over days, rather than weeks. 
  2. Flexibility: Our fit-for-purpose service model means clients control how much (or little) ENGINE’s subject matter experts are engaged on each project. By smartly leveraging our collective resources, our clients can do more within the same budget. Plus, ENGINE provides clients the option to fund research projects with media spend through our EMX exchange, providing significant cost savings. 
  3. Impact: Our data-agnostic approach helps ensure that we have a holistic view of the issues on the table for a given engagement. And our integrated systems allow clients to seamlessly activate on insights. Whether that be audience targeting, professionally designed training decks and sales materials, or executive level presentations where ENGINE’s industry Client Advisors provide recommendations and consulting, ENGINE’s agile approach facilitates the next step, helping brands grow and become future-proof. 

The Future of Agile Research

As we continue to evolve, ENGINE will push the limits on what a modern, tech-enabled, market research company can do to help brands grow. We have bold plans to provide enhanced intelligence to help brands more effectively identify the right target audience to reach their objectives, develop products and marketing that will effectively grow the brand, and measure the impact of activities on business performance, optimizing along the way to maximize the impact. One of the next phases of our evolution is the introduction of ready-made solutions in key use cases, such as concept testing. These solutions are designed on a continuum so that we can apply the most appropriate resources and tools to meet our clients’ needs a fit-for-purpose way. 

We will continue to share examples of our work here and we look forward to the opportunity to bring the value of ENGINE to more brands. If you are interested in learning more about how ENGINE helps future-proof brands, please contact us. 

Written by  David Albert, General Manager at ENGINE

 

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ABOUT ENGINE

ENGINE is a global, full-service media and marketing services company that unites culture and commerce to move brands forward faster. We are: Driven by data. Fueled by imagination. Powered by technology. Founded in 2005, ENGINE has global headquarters in New York and 16 offices across North America, the UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific. ENGINE empowers clients to outperform in the present and win in the future with its vast range of marketing solutions including – insights, creative, media, data and technology. Find out more at enginegroup.com and follow @engineworldwide.