FEATURE14 December 2022

2022 in-house team of the year: Marks & Spencer (clothing & home)

Awards News Retail UK

At the 2022 MRS Awards, the Research Live award for in-house team of the year went to Marks & Spencer (clothing & home).

M&S clothing & home team, winner of in-house team of the year, collecting their award at the 2022 MRS Awards

The insight team in clothing & home at Marks & Spencer has relaunched over the last two years after a reduction in headcount. The team now works with senior directors and decision-makers in various different ways to embed insight across the business.

In 2021, the insight team began work on a report outlining eight customer priorities, based on original research and drawing on reports, forecasts and trends, and the clothing & home business has used these priorities to inform planning for its three-year strategy, signed off by the chief executive. Alongside this, the team meets with the chief executive and leadership team monthly to discuss the latest research findings and emerging priorities for customers.

The team has also conducted original research projects that have informed strategy for each of the clothing & home business units (womenswear, menswear, kidswear, home and dotcom). The work involved research with around 250,000 customers for each business unit – comprising surveys, one-to-one, in-store, in-home and focus groups – and working with research agencies to help business unit directors write their strategies and ultimately get board approval.

Additionally, the insight team has developed what it calls a ‘more unified view of the M&S modern mainstream target customer’, based on depth interviews using Jigsaw Research, and team worked with the marketing director to develop the retailer’s ‘Anything but Ordinary’ campaign targeted at this audience, based on research from Acacia Avenue.

Other work from the insight team has included:

  • Identifying the need for a communications role within the team to embed insight across the business (in addition to presentations and reports)
  • Building an online consumer insight platform, acting as a repository for reporting, research and analysis
  • Launching consumer insight data dashboards, where M&S staff can run analysis on customer data and market share
  • Changing how it shares insights through ‘lunch and learn’ sessions and new visual materials (infographics, video, posters), culminating in a new all-day event dubbed the ‘Insight Fest’ in June 2022, where the insight team led four sessions in front of colleagues.

Tamsin Robertson, head of clothing & home insight at M&S, said: “We were so pleased to win in-house team of the year from the MRS. It’s been a fantastic journey over the last couple of years, and we all feel incredibly privileged to work for M&S. It is great to be recognised with this award, and to be recognised for how we help drive business transformation through insight and support market share growth. I have a fantastic team, and we all love what we do, and we work with many amazing agencies too. We’re going to continue to strive everyday to put the customer at the heart of everything M&S does, and be the best client for agencies to work for.”