The Insight250 spotlights and celebrates 250 of the world’s premier leaders and innovators in market research, consumer insights, and data-driven marketing. The inaugural list was revealed in April 2021, and the 2022 winners were announced in Toronto last September at ESOMAR’s Annual Congress. The awards have created renewed excitement across the industry whilst strengthening the connectivity of the market research community. The 2023 Winners were announced last week - see insight250.com.
With so many exceptional professionals named to the Insight250, it seems fitting to tap into their expertise and unique perspectives across various topics. This weekly series does just that; inquiring about the expert perspectives of many of these individuals in a series of short topical features.
This edition features Maneesh Kaushik, Strategic Director of Strategic Growth Insights with PepsiCo. Maneesh reviews how evolutions and advancements in market research and insight technology deepen the understanding of consumers and customer experience, specifically in the ever-evolving fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space. However, these are challenges and opportunities that nearly every major sector faces today.
Maneesh explains how understanding consumers' emotional connections with a product or brand is increasingly critical and how this view of the consumer goods industry has never been more critical. And today, with mTab Marketplace, it has never been more accessible with datasets, reports, and studies from leading sources like JP Morgan, PWC, BCG, Barnes, Behaviorally, and a spectrum of other providers all in one place, to deliver a world of insights and research with across a spectrum of industries.
Is the role of insights in the FMCG industry changing, or has the role of the insights professional remained static?
“I believe that the world of Insights has changed significantly in the last few years, with the advent of startup-led solutions, AI, and a glut of data and analytical tools. While Insights continue to be the consumer's voice to the organization, we are now human scientists by combining human intelligence, AI, and data to present a legible worldview. So, the role of insights is always evolving and advancing, bringing more value to organizations to help provide a greater understanding of consumers and markets.”
Do you find it easier or harder to get the voice of the consumer heard?
“It is both easier and harder to hear the voice of the consumer. Today you can easily gather feedback from consumer channels, mine social listening, and use advanced analytics on what seems to be an overwhelming volume of data. But simultaneously, getting true insight is more difficult and requires increased precision. The art of getting what the consumer is feeling, behaving, and acting is even more important to get right than ever.”
Where do your greatest insights come from?
“Nothing will beat getting in your audience's shoes, understanding their lives, and being very human-centric. The most valuable understanding comes directly from the consumer and their intrinsic emotional connection to the brand.”
What are the biggest changes in the FMCG insights space in the next few years (e.g., will AI/ChatGPT impact what you do)?
“AI is already making an impact and will continue to do so. AI has been used extensively in insights with social listening mining and prediction algorithms for some time. I also believe that new solutions built on the foundation of ChatGPT will enable the automation of lower-level analysis in Insights.
“We are already seeing early signs of it, and this will again mean that the role of insights will further change to help us become better story-tellers.”
“Invest in an outside-in and a future-centric view to the business, whether incorporating a consistent understanding of culture, trends, and foresight so you can develop the context for the changes happening in your category and consumer.”
Like many industries, the world of consumer goods faces savvier consumers and often more demanding to earn their loyalty. This has created a greater reliance on understanding consumers' behaviors, preferences, and tendencies. In turn, the insights roles for entertainment brands are largely becoming the lifeblood of developing successful content and satisfied consumers.
Thank you Maneesh - great to hear your perspectives. As Maneesh explains, “It is both easier and harder to hear the voice of the consumer. Today you can easily gather feedback from consumer channels, mine social listening, and use advanced analytics on what seems to be an overwhelming volume of data. But simultaneously, getting true insight is more difficult and requires increased precision.”
This is placing the role of insights front and center with many consumer-driven industries, like FMCG, in order to understand the advancing markets and anticipate the evolving needs of the consumer so brands can provide what they want in real-time.