What do market research, data science, user experience, and customer experience all have in common? When insight experts are asked this question, they are undoubtedly able to come up with any number of commonalities between each industry.
This is because they are all different facets of the same gem, experts in their own fields that look at a different angle of the same purpose, which is to gather data and insights, valuable information, and use that to create the most efficient and successful strategies possible. This begs the question – why are they still separate industries?
There is no intersectionality or connections between each industry, and each one captures a different side of the data ecosystem. Even with those differences so prominently displayed, such as the different specifications they need in order to perform their jobs well, could organizations be more efficient and productive by sharing their resources, learnings, and by being more connected by research touchpoints?
Can they all work within the same circle, sharing processes, tools and methodologies to help enhance the quality of data each industry produces? Can they allow businesses to get a glimpse of the full picture, the full spectrum of consumer behavior and power positive experiences?
Supercharging the Information Economy
The term ‘information economy’ has been gaining traction in insight-related discussions recently, but what exactly is the information economy? It is “an economy in which knowledge, information, and services are more valuable than manufacturing” according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an apt way of describing the current state of the world – where information is traded like currency, and gathered as much as possible by businesses who want to thrive rather than just survive.
The growth of the information economy is the result of businesses starting to understand the true value of data and insights, as such, those within the information industries should work to capitalize on this prospect, in order to supercharge insights and the businesses that act on them.
However, since their inception and despite their foundational purposes, each of the market research, data science, user experience and customer experience industries have grown apart and become competitive against each other. This is one challenge that will be difficult to overcome, as each industry tends holds their own speciality and strategies within that close.
Take data science and market research. Each discipline involves analyzing raw information to find statistical insight that informs business decisions. However, the way they go about it is fundamentally different – market research seeks to understand human behaviors and influences that drive action, while data science uses analytical modelling to find new and emerging trends from a range of sources.
It is the same with user experience and customer experience, both are dedicated to researching pain points for customers. However, user experience focusses on the digital world whereas customer experience is a broader field that also looks into the journey from brand discovery to product purchase and beyond.
Each industry has diverged enough to hold their own as an information industry. That is marvelous in and of itself. The fact that businesses use each one is remarkable and something that should be celebrated as they seek out their insights.
But the lack of connectivity between the industries is stunting their growth potential. As they expand into different areas, methodologies and processes that another industry might have already mastered, they lose time, effort and resources trying to replicate the same practice when they could simply learn and integrate from the other industry.
We don’t need to combine the industries into one. Increasing the connection between them so that data, insights, methodologies, and collaborations can move freely between them will close the circle and allow for a more efficient and connected industry.
Increasing Collaborative Intelligence
There are many benefits to connecting the information industries in a way for them to collaborate with each other when needed. Once the GDPR risks are dealt with, sharing data easily between all four industries will eradicate industry siloes, reduce the amount of repeated insights and research experiences across the board, make insights activation a lot more efficient than it is today.
Secondly, the sharing of knowledge across the industries will also help eradicate siloes, but also help insight experts create more effective research experiences that deliver truly actionable and impactful insights. Understanding what other methodologies do when implemented in the right way is crucial to making sure that the stakeholder is getting the best possible research experience. The right technology, right methodologies, and ultimately, the right insights at the end.
Thirdly, each innovation in one industry will impact the others in a positive way; each evolution in one will spark a similar evolution in the other industries. Collaborative progress, or shared progress, will ultimately bolster all industries a lot faster than it would if they evolved in their own silo.
So, with these benefits and more in mind, how do we bring the information industries together? In some cases, insight experts can take a lead from the insight activation strategies we implement to encourage stakeholders to connect more with research and act on insights:
- Combine networking, awards and conference events to increase the chances of collaboration and connection.
- Encourage partnerships between companies on a smaller scale to start with and the rest of the companies in each industry will follow once the positive impacts start to reveal themselves.
- Establish easy communication channels between industries – similar to research request channels, these new communication channels can request support from particular industries or closer collaboration on particular projects.
- Plant representatives of all industries within each other industry to help bring connections to life within all strategies and decision-making – these representatives can recommend a different industry’s involvement if they are better suited to the task, without taking the task off the original industry – this collaboration would be an example to others looking to make the most of more than one industry at once.