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Transforming Business with Speed

Posted On  June 19, 2016

When the CMO comes to the insights team with a time-sensitive crisis or opportunity, what is the response? If the answer is, “we’ll need six weeks for deep insights,” it might be a problem. To meet the needs of any dynamic marketing organization, insights pros must put in place tools and capabilities that allow for speed in addition to the classic tools of our industry.

Delivering “so what?®” at speed is a focus for LRW as we innovate to be more nimble and swift. We offer real-time brand, Marcom and customer experience analyses and consulting. In near real time, we can now guide research teams through the dynamic omnichannel, every channel landscape with the immediacy of digital and social media analytics. Pleased with our progress, we know we must continue to push for greater insights at speed.

We recently acquired Tonic Insights to ensure we can deliver on this key need for rapid and iterative insights. LRWTonic represents a global capability in online communities, with leading-edge technology and significant quantitative and qualitative consulting capabilities on both sides of the Atlantic. This adds to our BX, CX and Social Media capabilities to enable us to obtain insights in real time to meet the needs of the modern CMO.

I wish I could claim to have seen the opportunity with online communities years ago. But the fact is that I was too arrogant to see it. Perhaps by sharing my story, any of you may see how your own history and blind spots might be preventing your organization from transforming itself to meet the demands of the digital age.

I had the opportunity to work on, literally, the first online community that came into existence in 2002, but I was too inward-looking to see its value. At the time, I was fresh out of a PhD program, and I looked critically at the nature of the repeated measurement of a community and poo-poo’d them on methodological grounds. I brandished terms like “The Hawthorne Effect” and external validity. I was too dogmatic about aspects of my training to see the value in what a community can provide.

As the online communities business grew in our industry, this arrogance led to a blindness in seeing the reality of the needs of the modern CMO: Speed. While methodological rigor to certain industry and social science protocols are important in some circumstances, in many cases, they compete with speed and flexibility as key criteria in affecting business decisions. In short, at the speed of business, there are many cases where traditional market research doesn’t work. Too expensive. Too slow. But until recently, I just didn’t see this clearly.

I guess the good news is that we now have the opportunity to make up for that mistake. We are very excited about what we have created with LRWTonic, because we think it brings together a world-class technology platform ( with a world class communities consulting capability ( By setting up a community with a solid team of analysts supporting that community, clients can respond with market insights in hours and days, not weeks and months. And with a well-moderated community, researchers can engage with the marketplace in a deep conversation, over time, that traditional methods have not allowed.

Now combined with other real-time offerings, imagine this suite of research at speed tools to answer key business questions for the CMO in a timely manner:

LRWTonic Community: Know the answer in hours or days by gathering qualitative and quantitative market feedback from a community of consumers representing the key consumer target.

LRWSocial Media: Marketers can seize instant insights about brands, products, competitors, and trends by measuring market reaction and even looking backward into historical data for added perspective.

LRWCX: Organizations gain real-time feedback from their customers as they experience their products, services or customer care centers.

LRWBX: We stream real-time feedback from Brand and Ad tracking studies.

In ten short years, the business of marketing has been transformed, and with it, the insights industry needs to keep pace. As a firm with a 40+ year history, this is not always easy, as old habits and mindsets die hard. At LRW, our vision is to adapt to our changing world and deploy a wide variety of data sources to meet today’s research needs. We are betting that we can create the market research firm of the future, and online communities are a big part of it.


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