There is a concept in the project management realm that has dominated thinking since at least the 1950s. The iron triangle states that any attempt to achieve a positive outcome is constrained by the three variables of time, cost and scope. Or, in popular vernacular, in attempting to produce anything new, a team is always looking to create something faster, better and cheaper.
Since the concept saw the light of day more than 60 years ago, one of its iron-clad tenets has been that in any endeavor a team has to “pick two.” The thinking has always been that it’s impossible to produce something that is—all at once—faster, better and cheaper.
Well, like so many other notions that developed back in the last century, the iron triangle is fading into memory. And, as in so many other cases where old ideas are being blown out of the water, it’s the power of advanced technology that’s melting the triangle away. One industry where this is playing out with dramatic results is consumer insights, and the results are proving to be literally transformative; thanks to a cadre of advanced technologies, resting on a foundation of expertise, insights are now being delivered to clients in record time (faster), with more actionable data (better), and at reduced unit cost (cheaper).
Everything has changed.
Meeting Consumers Where They Live (Faster)
Thanks to the spread and advancement of mobile technology—and the use of advanced technologies like digital tracking—consumer insights professionals are able to meet consumers where they live in the digital world. They are able to join a consumer on a digital journey, instantly recording the experience and impressions. And automated, platform approaches to market research—which automate the whole range of critical market research functions—offer the speed and agility needed to keep pace with constantly changing consumer sentiments.
In the consumer insights industry, that means hundreds of millions more consumer touch points and the almost unimaginable complexity of matching the right surveys with the consumers. Despite this ever-growing level of complexity, clients need answers faster than ever before to remain competitive. The industry is keeping pace with that exploding demand by employing systems that not only mine reservoirs of data, but also instantly apply advanced analytics.
Machine Learning Layered on Big Data (Better)
Consumer insights professionals now have access to almost unlimited stores of consumer data, offering detailed, granular views of individual consumers. And, most importantly, by layering in machine learning (AI) they can instantly see patterns of behavior, leading to all-important predictions of future behavior. That means they can instantly zero-in on the data that’s going to be most predictive and actionable.
Automation Means Lower Costs (Cheaper)
Automation—and especially integrated platform solutions—have made it not only possible, but cost-effective to keep pace with the demand for instant consumer insights. Now, rather than bringing on new personnel, consumer insights professionals and marketers are turning to automated platform solutions to cost-effectively garner actionable data from hundreds of millions of data points, while also applying advanced analytics.
It seems clear that the advanced technologies now driving the consumer insights space have made the “pick two” rule a thing of the past and for consumer insights professionals, this iron triangle doesn’t just benefit consumer insights professionals, but empowers businesses to take advantage of nearly real-time insights at a reduced cost, which provides “net new” opportunities for the application of market research.