Creating an Insight & Information Department

Instead of Bitching, I've Come Up With a Solution

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Tom Martin Tom Martin
How I wish I had an Insight & Information Department -- a smart person (or a few) responsible for keeping me ahead of the curve. A person with access to research tools such as MRI, Simmons, Iconoculture, etc. At worst, it would save me the 15-20 hours a month I currently spend reading and synthesizing information. At best, it would give me ready access to research that will make the work we do more compelling and effective.

Sound familiar?

Heck we could all use the first part. What I'd give to have a smart person reading all the stuff I read and synthesizing that into a single compelling document that I could review in 20-30 minutes. It would easily be worth the $1,000 or more I currently spend on subscriptions.

More importantly though, and in keeping with the spirit of this blog, smaller agencies need to have access to smart people and smart research. Whether it's just the basics of someone actively scanning current marketing writings, magazines, books and blogs and making sense of it all for us, or a more robust option that includes the aforementioned research resources. Our world demands that we have access to and utilize compelling insights to keep our work and our clients' brands relevant.

The big hurdles to this vision are usually the same for all smaller agencies -- time, money and talent. We don't have the time to actually make this vision a reality. And more importantly we don't have the freedom to dedicate a full-time employee, not to mention a talented senior one, to what is in essence an overhead position. So what do we do? We limp along, make what investments we can and if you're like me, read everything you can get your hands on before nodding off on the couch at 2 a.m. every night.

Maybe it's the sore back I've developed from falling asleep on that couch or maybe it's just that I've finally realized it doesn't have to be this way. Regardless, I'm using today's post as a call to arms for all agencies and marketers that agree with me.

Insight & Information shouldn't just be the privilege of those that have the money and size to afford it. There are smart marketers in every shop in the country and they deserve access to great insight. Even better, if we could find a way to share the costs, a Insight & Information department could even field primary studies designed to answer compelling questions that we all deal with daily. The big boys routinely do it, package it and sell it during new business pitches. Why shouldn't we smaller guys have the same chance? God knows that we are smart and creative enough to do something with the insights we'd undoubtedly glean; we just need access to them.

So in the spirit of my fellow blogger Doug Zanger's recent post about the productivity of bitching, I'm not going to bitch about it, I'm going to solve the problem. And last night, that is exactly what I did.

I've created a little microsite at www.insightandinformation.com. Nothing fancy, just a simple free hosted web page with a sign-up box. Pop over and let me know if you want to join the movement. I've created two levels -- the first is the basic level of simply receiving some kind of monthly report covering all the important stuff you should know. Not simply a CliffNotes version but true insights gleaned by a smart, senior marketer who will be doing all that reading for you.

The second level will be for partners. Those small agencies or client side marketing departments that truly would like to have some kind of Insight & Information group available to them and are willing to share the costs.

I'll then collect everyone's information and level of interest and report back here as to the outcome. If it looks like the level of interest can actually support the endeavor, I'll start the conversation with all interested parties and we'll be off. And for everyone else, I'll report back periodically here so you can follow along on our little journey.
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