How can you translate insights into action?


Recently, we hosted a happy hour event for one of our clients’ analytics team. While much of the conversation revolved around shop talk, one question in particular quickly turned into a discussion that engulfed both tables. A research director, one of the most senior members of the client’s team present, asked our thoughts on why analytics failed to translate into practical action in the marketplace. He wanted to know what we felt were the most significant challenges. Uh oh!

We spent a significant amount of time talking about the politics of any decision. Examples from Washington D.C. temporarily sidetracked the discussion, but we were able to steer the conversation back to why the insights are perceived from a political standpoint in the first place. The main problem that the team at Middlegame has seen is that analytics are usually too narrow in focus. They present a strong story with solid math for a given brand (marketing contributions or response curves) or set of products (price elasticities or lift coefficients), but the rest of the marketplace is assumed “out of scope.” Once the strategy moves from championing the analytics (often the brand manager) to other stakeholders involved in the eventual decision (finance, operations team or sales force, retailer partner, etc.), all of the “out of scope” elements take the forefront as a series of unanswered questions.November_callout

Therefore, Middlegame set out to position shopper analytics using an approach that quickly and easily moves from the perspective of one stakeholder to another. We have discussed this before as analytics with the wide-angle view. As an example, perhaps the brand manager wants to see the expected return on investment of some new initiative for the brand as a whole. To gain internal alignment, the operations team needs to understand the implications of volume for various sizes of SKUs across brands. Other internal stakeholders, such as those in finance, want an assessment of total portfolio profitability before committing the funding. Finally, to move forward, the retail partners need an explanation of how the retail sales for the category as a whole (including their private label), will be impacted. Our Competitive Interaction Analysis (CIA)® platform is designed to rapidly pivot the results to reflect the viewpoint of any of these stakeholders and explain expected scenarios from the metrics that answer their concerns.

To learn more about how we use stakeholder management principles, and for a full analysis of marketing response expectations across the entire value chain, visit us at Also, check out Lynda Bourne’s new book, Making Projects Work: Effective Stakeholder and Communication Management.

Middlegame is the only ROMI consultancy of its kind that offers a holistic view of the implications of resource allocation and investment in the marketplace. Our approach to scenario-planning differs from other marketing analytics providers by addressing the anticipated outcome for every SKU (your portfolio and your competitors) in every channel. Similar to the pieces in chess, each stakeholder can now evaluate the trade-offs of potential choices and collectively apply them to create win-win results.

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