Work your data harder

Article Date | 8 July, 2022

   Authors: Mercedes Lois Gleeson, Senior Product Marketing Manager @ GWI  Roger Horberry, Senior Copywriter @ GWI

Making the most of in-house research

In the past, many brands relied exclusively on external agencies for their research and insights – but that’s changing. Whilst these expert third-party organizations are incredibly valuable to their clients and will always have a crucial role to play, more and more brands are taking a pragmatic approach and bringing their research in-house. And it’s easy to see why. In our hyper-connected digital world, people’s habits and preferences are changing so quickly that it’s hard for brands to keep up. This creates huge, ever-growing quantities of 1st party data that needs to be managed. Bringing research in-house addresses both of these issues, delivering great insights in less time and with more efficiency. In this blog, we’ll explain how to make in-housing work for you, starting with a quick look at how things stand right now.

1. The state of play today

Whatever you think, think the opposite

Assuming you understand an audience can be a risky business. Paradoxes and contradictions are everywhere. Gen Z suffer most from eco anxiety, but recycle least. Boomers have the most purchasing power, but are least likely to describe themselves as affluent. The point is, it pays to know what’s really happening.

Clarity is in short supply

Disposable incomes are falling, the climate crisis is impacting consumption, and many people expect more from brands during times of conflict and uncertainty.

All these moving parts make it harder than ever to predict where audiences will spend their hard-earned cash and this is exactly the knowledge brands need in order to thrive.

Time matters more than ever

Technology is making it easier for brands to reach new audiences, optimize their contact with existing ones, and provide exactly the right level of granularity so that data and insights can meet their needs.

For example, a third of online shoppers want brands to offer personalized products, a number that increases among younger age groups. That means brands need to know where their audiences are hanging out online, and hit them with relevant content if they want to stand out from the crowd and have the competitive edge.

Roger Horberry, Senior Copywriter @ GWI

2. In-house research: the secret to scalable growth

Insights produced in-house can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to driving scalable growth. Here’s how:

In-house advantage 1

Speed up the audience research process

Generating robust audience research shouldn’t take days. In fact, speed has never been more important, with 72% of decision-makers in the world of work saying that being able to adapt quickly is critical to their company's long-

term success. The good news is, you can get important audience insights in less than 60 seconds with GWI.

Putting insights closer to decision makers means you can move “at the speed of trends” to get data-led campaigns up and running in less time.

In-house advantage 2

Minimize risk with data-led budgeting

In our turbulent climate, many marketing departments are feeling the heat as bosses (understandably) pressure them to prove ROI.

Strategy has an important part to play in all of this, but not just any strategy – it has to be data-led to really deliver. And that’s where in-housing really helps. With data-led facts at their fingertips, marketers can avoid the risk and waste of trialing different approaches at various stages of the customer journey.

The point is, insight should steer investment; that’s the key to effective budget allocation, getting things right first time, and driving ROI.

In-house advantage 3

Own the purchase journey from start to finish

Brands often say they’d like a clearer view of how their agencies operate, in terms of both the processes they follow and the work they produce. That’s especially true when it comes to consumer data and insight. Too often brands get second-hand knowledge of their target consumers, drawn from a variety of sources and analyzed by a mix of methodologies. The result makes it hard to connect the dots and build a holistic audience understanding across the business.

In contrast, owning the process so that consumer data is collected using a single trusted methodology and made available on-tap puts control back in

the hands of marketing teams and campaign strategists. Essentially it’s about taking control of your insight approach and validating your intuition with a single source of truth.

In-house advantage 4

Get the best of both worlds

Marketing teams often rely on external agencies to cover pretty much everything they lack in terms of research resources.

But if internal teams have access to insights that tell them which channels, tactics, and methods to invest in, brands are free to hire agencies in a far more targeted way – a much better use of their expertise.

Ultimately, this is about the most efficient use of resources. Conducting research in-house should happen where it makes sense to do so, and outsourcing can be beneficial for expert help where appropriate, giving brands a far better return overall.

In-house advantage 5

Put meaningful insights in the hands of everyone in your business

Becoming truly data-led starts with choosing the right tools for the job. That’s why one of our key ambitions at GWI is to create a “platform for everyone”.

If pretty much anyone can conduct professional-quality research, this is a huge plus for any brand thinking of moving their research in-house.

When you’re equipped with a simple, powerful tool to access data, this means that suddenly everyone in your business can be a researcher, with all the advantages that implies.

Mercedes Lois Gleeson, Senior Product Marketing Manager @ GWI

3. Boxes your research provider needs to tick

Bringing research in-house is an idea that’s rapidly gaining traction. In fact, as of 2021, 73% of brands in Europe have an in-house team.

One of the biggest challenges for any brand thinking of bringing its audience research in-house is finding the right partner. Here are the main things to keep an eye out for.

1. Insights on demand

Waiting to receive analysis from a third party partner can reduce project momentum. Instead having a single, highly intuitive subscription-based, platform enables you to find exactly the insights you need in minutes. The “single” bit is important. Many brands who’ve already brought research in-house say that having too many tools is itself a burden; the real benefit comes from having one powerful platform that integrates multiple services into a single easy-to-use solution.

Benefit: 34% of workplace decision-makers assess a new product or service based on how much it’ll improve efficiency. Access to a one-stop-shop of fast data drastically cuts turnaround times. Source: GWI Work Q3 2021

2. Easily shareable insights

To keep all eyes on the prize, you need to be able to share key consumer research in a format that’s easily understood.

Easy to visualize dashboards are a quick way to hand the power of data to anyone who needs it, regardless of their skill level or area of expertise.

Benefit: 27% of business professionals say keeping teams aligned is one of their company’s biggest challenges. A single, harmonized view makes it easy for all your teams to tell a powerful, consistent story. Source: GWI Work Q3 2021

3. The right data granularity and segmentation

There’s not much point being able to share consumer data if it’s not fit for purpose.

You need to be able to build detailed and accurate audience profiles - that call for an easy way to slice and dice data at any level of granularity, so you can uncover the most impactful insights.

Benefit: 45% of professionals say it’s difficult to access the latest information or data they need to do their job. But with the right tools, a brand can create a data-led strategy based on facts. Source: GWI Work Q3 2021

4. Custom capabilities to fill any gaps

Any serious research partner should have a custom team able to work with you, running tailored market research shaped around your exact needs. For example, GWI’s customized surveys and analytics let you speak directly to our global panel of consumers. It’s the difference between bespoke and off-the-shelf.

Benefit: 51% of affluent consumers don’t follow luxury brands on social media, an insight that helped luxury creative and performance agency VERB Brands achieve a 36% boost in high quality leads.

5. Global scale and consistency

Harmonized data, collected from the same respondents over the same period wherever they are in the world, opens the door for precise comparison across all channels and regions.

Without this sort of global scale and rigorous consistency you’ll struggle to cross-compare insights.

Benefit: Globally harmonized data supports simple and varied analysis. With a large enough sample size, comparisons can be made at any scale, with important implications at regional, local and segment levels.

The bottom line

In-house research helps you work faster, so that when the world throws a curveball your way, you’ll have the power to flip data into insights at top speed. You’ll be able to work easier, getting the right granularity of data, avoiding errors, keeping your analysis on track and gliding through the research process. And you’ll be more aligned, sharing information and visualizing findings that feed insights into your strategy - with all the benefit that provides.

To find out more about how you can bring your audience research in-house, visit

Authors: Mercedes Lois Gleeson, Senior Product Marketing Manager @ GWI Roger Horberry, Senior Copywriter @ GWI

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