By Richard Thornton

The importance of storytelling for brands and organizations has always been prevalent but now, more so than ever. The concept of storytelling isn’t new; it’s an age-old tactic made even more necessary by the emergence of digital and social channels. With everyone on the bandwagon, there’s an overwhelming amount of material available and it can seem that consumers are ignoring marketing messages. However, this is not always the case – as it’s highly likely just to be their automatic response to the volume of content.

In the battle to break through, brands are forced to make their story resonate above others and create a narrative that is compelling. Using data is the key to ensuring that this narrative hits the mark, but analyzing available data and drawing insights from it can be the biggest challenge of all. Data comes from so many sources these days, and Big Data is certainly the game changer, but understanding and realizing its potential is the challenge.

This therefore presents great opportunities in the MR world. Data synthesis is gathering pace and MR players should be at the forefront of developing this, helping to create the breakthrough needed. Combining market research results with CRM and other data sources holds the key to identifying and creating the right story for a brand.

There are some providers in the market who are already moving into this space, creating software to analyze a variety of data feeds – including transactional, behavioral and demographical data. This is still in its infancy and has some issues at present – such as cost and knowledge training – but it’s a step in the right direction.

Another significant factor within insights today is the voice of the customer (VOC). Interest in listening to the customer has coincided with an increase in the volume of feedback data available. Furthermore, VOC programs are being predicted as one of the most significant strategic investments over the next five years, with a market set to grow at an annual rate of 30 per cent.  However, this too is in its infancy and there will need to be an injection of players to the market for it to be considered reliable and mature enough to encourage spend from organizations. Additionally, there needs to be a real focus on joined-up thinking, as achieving feedback from a range of sources will be crucial to the accuracy of the insights.

There is real opportunity for MR players to utilize data in the battle to differentiate in a competitive arena. Evolving an offering to cater for clients’ changing requirements in the consumption of data and insights, to aid the storytelling mission, will be essential.MR players should grab this opportunity with both hands.

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