KUALA LUMPUR – There is a huge opportunity for insight leaders to drive growth in client businesses if they can work in better partnership with marketers, according to research for the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) by BrainJuicer.

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In a project called The Future of Insights and presented at the WFA’s Global Marketer conference in Kuala Lumpur, although a third of senior marketers said they were happy with their insights function, a quarter were not.

Those who were not happy said methodologies were too traditional, insights derived too obvious and difficult to action, and that there was a perceived lack of passion and real business understanding among insights professionals.

In comparison, half of the insights leaders surveyed felt positive about their role with 16% negative about their function. They cited frustrations relating to too few resources, too many silos and seeing hard work getting wasted, poorly packaged and ultimately ignored.

In some companies, however, there is a better understanding between the functions. The report found that 50% of insights leaders and senior marketers see insights teams as efficient, expert, trusted advisers and educators, who build on ideas and push recommendations.

In these companies, insights and marketing are more likely to work in physical proximity, with a 15-point increase in positive sentiment in companies where this is the case.

The report points to a common aspiration to turn insights into an internal consultancy and that to do this they need: closer integration between the teams and broader adoption of new methodologies and thinking.

John Kearon, chief juicer at BrainJuicer, said: "There’s an opportunity here for insights leaders to be bold, and become the kind of strategic consultants they want to be, ones that challenge assumptions and push a business forward. On the topics of consumer irrationality, emotional advertising, and brand-centric communications, our study shows these challenges should find a willing audience.”

The research was based on responses from more than 300 senior marketers and insights leaders across 94 of the world’s largest brand owners, representing a total annual marketing spend of $75 billion.