Seven Tips for Assimilating Your Insight

A lot of organisations are sitting on a huge amount of research and data.

They want to take stock of it. They want to look at what they know already, what it all means, what the gaps are, and what actions they can take from it.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, here are seven tips to help you along the way.

1. Keep your objective in mind

Like any good piece of research, you first need an objective.

You might want to build a consistent narrative for new agencies and partners. You might need to understand what’s driving sales in a particular market. Or you might want a baseline from which to set your new marketing strategy.

All of these require a slightly different approach.

2. Visualise your insight

We tend to create mindmaps to structure and categorise all the insight we have.

It takes a long time. But when you’ve done it, you can step back and very quickly see:

  • Where you have most insight (e.g. messaging)
  • Where you have less (e.g. competitor brand analysis)
  • What the gaps are (e.g. consumer decision-making)

Plus, this is a brilliant reference tool for the future. All your insights in one place.

3. Keep collaborating

It’s very easy to disappear into a black hole of research. When analysing over 30 different reports or sets of data, you can lose sight of what’s important and what’s not.

It’s best to keep talking through what you’re finding, what’s interesting, and what you think it means.

It keeps you focused on your objective. It means your output is much tighter and less likely to be just a long, regurgitated version of existing reports.

Like the best research, the best insight assimilation tells a story.

4. Tell a story

Before even opening PowerPoint, you should know what story you want to tell.

It might be a typical customer’s journey through your business; from not knowing about you to becoming a loyal customer. Or it could be based around the four pillars of your organisation’s strategy.

This story is the framework for your insight. The story people go away and tell their colleagues. The story that sticks.

5. Challenge myths

We all know them.Those myths that are seen as facts within companies. They’re intuitive to everyone who works there. But in some cases, they may not be based on any particular evidence.

Challenge them. Which are supported by your research and which aren’t? Use them as your classic research hypotheses.

Take the common analysis of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Most commentators seem to accept that people voted leave because they felt left-behind by globalisation and/or were fearful of it. Is that the case? Does research support this?

It’s your job when assimilating your insight to show a true picture of what’s going on, not just the internal picture.

6. Be clear

Research findings can sometimes talk about how organisations need to speak in particular ways to be more “motivating” for customers or how businesses need to operate to “drive brand engagement”.

This is great. But what does it actually mean?

Are we saying more people will buy the product? Or more people will renew their contract? Or we’ll lose less business to competitors? If we are, we should say so.

When the language is clear, there’s no hiding from what needs to happen and who needs to do what. It’s much easier to act.

7. Give it time

Assimilating insight is like any other form of research. It needs an inquisitive, critical, objective mind. It requires patience.

But most of all, it takes time.

We typically spend anywhere between five and fifteen days assimilating an organisation’s insight. How often do you have this amount of time in your diary?

Most of all, it takes time.

You need time away from distractions and meetings. You need to follow a train of thought and follow it to its conclusion. You probably need to work from a different office or from home.

And if you really can’t find this time, come and speak to us.

I hope this has been useful. If you’re about to embark on something similar, I’d love to hear from you.


Dan Young

Dan is a market research and customer insight consultant who helps organisations make more of their existing research. He builds stories from under-utilised or overlooked data and revisits existing research to answer new questions.
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