Knowledge Hub

Agile insight for retail

We take a dive into quick-win insight and what it means for retail

The energy crisis and the war in Ukraine has ushered in a new era of uncertainty. The market is changing at breakneck speed – and brands need to adapt to survive.

So how can your brand develop a flexible marketing approach fit for our ever-changing times? Read on to find out more about how you could use agile insight to inform your marketing strategy and stay aligned to your customers.

What is agile insight?

Agile insight denotes a way of working that is characterised by insight projects that allow for rapid decision making, testing and optimising.

Instead of commissioning a large piece of insight work, which can become out of date in a fast-moving market, agile insight is immediately actionable. This type of work is incredibly valuable in tumultuous markets, as shopper behaviour can change almost week on week.

By its very nature, agile insight is also cheaper than lengthy projects, making it available to brands that normally don’t have pockets deep enough to commission their own research.

It’s an iterative, speedy and adaptable process: if your tests give you insights that indicate that something’s not working, you examine why, and try something new. You don’t simply plough on regardless towards your big launch – only to discover that your campaign has failed to connect with your customers!

Finding opportunities in a tightening market

With consumers currently facing multiple financial challenges, the only way to keep up with changing consumer behaviour is to keep research short and sharp. Engaging with your customers throughout the development of your campaign means the outcome can deliver against their dilemmas or expectations. This is especially important in a sector such as retail, as it is one of the sectors most likely to suffer during a recession with discretionary spend reduced.

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So, how do you do it?

While an agile insight approach can help you set up a campaign, it is also invaluable throughout the course of the project –  tweaking your process to create maximum impact. Here are some steps you and your team can take to carry out some agile insight:

  1. Focus on one campaign at a time

The agile methodology works best when a team can focus on one project or campaign. By piling all the resources into one project, you are not only giving it more chance of success, but you are also giving your team the ability to move quickly and realign as necessary. The agile methodology of team “sprints” is a great way to get your team motivated and working in the same direction on a project.

  1. Understand what customer data you already have

Look at what data you already have on your customers. Whether it’s customer-journey-mapping information, website interaction or general digital or physical touchpoints, understanding what you already know about your customers is paramount to identifying what data you're missing or what you would like to reaffirm through insight.

  1. Don’t be afraid to bring in outside resources to give you greater agility and speed

Often the biggest challenge to brands is their internal resource, whether it’s the capacity of a team or the skillset. By bringing in support from specialist agencies or SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms, you will be able to enhance your team and speed up results.

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  1. Remember: little and often is better

It may take considerable time to get your team to change its mindset when approaching agile insight, so fostering a culture of incremental change in the early stages of a campaign or project can be a good place to start. These are often low-risk decisions in comparison to changes further down the line and help to empower the team’s confidence.

  1. Contextualise the insight and data

One of the greatest challenges to most marketing teams is not the data collection, but contextualising the insight so that it can be actioned. Two common ways to go about this conundrum are to bring in an outside resource with a skillset in analysing the data and applying the results to your brand, or to upskill your team to enable it to interpret the data, resulting in the valuable insights that lead to actions.

  1. Be ready to react

Of course, a key takeaway is that as your team receives insights and data quickly, it must be ready to react. If you crack this, it should keep your campaigns ahead of the ever-changing market.

Linney – your agile insight partner

At Linney, we love seeing creative ideas grow into business success thanks to agile insight techniques.

Our Insight team features specialists who combine market research expertise with the latest in technological innovation. Together, we will explore your customer motivations, and help bring you rapid results with our agile insight approach.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together.



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