get ROI on consumer insights: failsafe tips to prove that innovation research is worth it

by: PLAY

One of the biggest challenges innovation managers face when bringing ideas to life is funding them and proving their worth.

When ROI on innovation is constantly being questioned by other departments in the organisation, fighting your cause becomes crucial to success - even if it’s not exactly in your job description!


We know it can feel a little lonely and draining when you don’t have a large team to form a united front with, so we’ve put together some quick tips to help you get ahead.


Using this guide, you’ll be able to focus on enhancing the areas you control (like front-end innovation) while persuading your business that innovation research is always worth it.

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1. Frontload to fuel the pipeline

Make sure you’re spending upfront to understand consumer needs and motivations. These findings will be invaluable to draw from when coming up with winning ideas and opportunities. The jazzy term for this is “frontloading” consumer insights - and we’re BIG advocates for that.

2. Invest in a customer lens

You probably have your own sales, distribution and shopper data. You might also have brand or ad tracking. But do you have the time or ability to look at it objectively?

Maximise the value of hindsight by getting to the bottom of what worked and what didn't with a customer lens that will help you build a solid business case.

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3. Run analysis on past launches

While we’re on the topic of understanding what worked and what didn’t, it’s also helpful to look back and reflect on previous launches using internally available data or sales data. You can even align this with research spend and process to get a comprehensive picture.

4. Find inspiring case studies

As experts in the FMCG world, we can share examples of category and cross-category wins to help motivate your team and stakeholders with the innovation possibilities they might be missing.

Bonus points if you align the wins with those that have truly understood a consumer need. This means highlighting brands that have developed some consumer empathy before embarking on the journey.

You will also want to explore brands that have understood shopper behaviour and consumer preferences to develop winning products that taste great AND feature packaging that drives both attention and interest in store.

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5. Say “no” when necessary

Not to be a Negative Nancy, but sometimes success in this area is also about talking to the products and ideas that have been “killed off”: an internal audit, if you will.

When it comes to processes like innovation sprints, it’s best practice to make sure we don’t kill something that might have legs – we always try to reconfigure it instead. However, there is something to be said for saying “no” strategically.

This might be when an idea doesn’t really pique consumer interest or there isn’t a genuine gap in the market. In these situations, you should cut your losses rather than spending lots of money going all the way down that road only to have the retailer delist the product within weeks (ouch!).

6. Go beyond research

At a bigger picture level, you can also pull apart core, adjacent and breakthrough innovations and any subsequent increases in sales to justify spend.

Pro tip: Check out the below chart that shows time/resources spent on each of these three types of innovation vs likely reward. Why? Because clever charts win people over. (Well, it works for us!)

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Over to you

Wondering how to put all these tips into action? Hit us up! PLAY’s agile, consumer-led product development solutions have been tried and tested by some of the world’s biggest brands.

Get in touch today to we can help you bring innovation to life. We’ll coach your team to learn alongside us or you can sit back while we deliver the results you need.
 

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about the author

PLAY

As the experts in consumer-led innovation in FMCG, we partner with manufacturers and retailers to lift the productivity and effectiveness of their NPD. It’s all in how we blend innovation advisory with tailored consumer insight using an agile, consumer-first approach. Think of us like the connective tissue within your innovation process. We guide you at every step of the journey, helping you align, focus and develop ideas and products that sell.

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