NEWS11 April 2013

Heads of insight need to be ‘more cunning', says Barwise

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UK — Heads of insight need to become more cunning and persistent to make sure research delivers impact within their organisations, according to London Business School’s emeritus professor of management and marketing Patrick Barwise.

Barwise said that as the clientside research role evolves – changing from ‘head of market research’ to ‘head of consumer insight’ – it requires a greater understanding of the internal decision-making structures and how to sell insights within the organisation.

He said: “[What] a true head of customer insight does better than a head of market research has historically done is to ensure that information – insights – get though to the decision-makers and that they are acted on. That means being better at internal marketing up the line than historically has been the case.”

Barwise added: “The bane of market researchers over the years has been [people] making decisions then commissioning the research to back it up. So we need more assertive, more cunning and more persistent heads of insight to make sure [research] makes a difference.”

Barwise was interviewed at the MRS Annual Conference in London, which took place in March. The full interview is below.

  • Patrick Barwise is featured in the launch edition of Impact, the new quarterly magazine from the MRS, out next week. It includes a special report on foresight, profiles of HarperCollins, McDonald’s and Yeo Valley and an interview with big data’s big daddy Doug Cutting, the co-developer of Hadoop. Follow Impact on Facebook and Twitter.