Why Brands Are Moving Audience Research In-House

Why Brands Are Moving Audience Research In-House

The role of the agency is changing.

Many brands are changing their tack, redistributing their budget to get more control of their output, with a bigger focus on in-house. This is a shift that has been ongoing for years.

While 2020 was a year of uncertainty and hesitancy to commit, digital advertising spend is starting to pick up pace again. In the US alone, digital ad sales are forecasted to grow by 13 per cent to $161 billion in 2021.

And for the first time, digital ad formats are expected to take up two-thirds (67 per cent) of all ad sales.

But despite huge investment being pumped into digital, many are still struggling to see the return.

This comes down to a number of factors fueling a massive shift in the marketing landscape, ultimately forging a new relationship between agencies and brands. Here’s why:

1. Consumers have changed, and brands need to too.

Today’s consumers demand to be understood:

  • They’re buying more online.
  • They’re proactively researching products.
  • They’re not afraid to criticise the brands that target them, often through social media.
  • They’re choosing products and services that reflect their views and lifestyles.
  • They’re blocking the marketing they don’t want to see.

To measure up, it takes getting to know them – from where and how they spend their time, to what gets them out of bed every morning and what qualities define them.

Reaching your target segments no longer means handing the reins to media agencies to create and place your investment across the right channels.

Taking audience research in-house means investing in your target consumers; splintering your media, content and creativity to match their behaviours, and shaping these to fit your various micro-audiences.

In short, it means taking more responsibility for your targeting.

For brands, audience research methods have gone far beyond ancient-seeming things like focus groups. Through today’s market research, brands can shake up their strategy and dramatically improve their targeting.

2. In the digital world, insight is everything.

Consumer insight has always been crucial to brand positioning and marketing strategy.

But today, it’s taking on a whole new role within the marketing agency and brand teams.

It used to be a lengthy process involving several arms of external research, which meant actually pinpointing an actionable insight took time and resources.

Today, annual planning cycles and year-old personas just don’t cut it – speed and agility are absolute musts to keep up.

And with the added challenge of juggling several different data sets with varying methodologies, the data was not only time-consuming – it wasn’t adding up.

But in the digital world, insight into your target market and consumers is everything.

Today, every forward-thinking brand knows consumer-centricity is key – and can only be done by putting deep insight in the driving seat.

Insight is becoming ingrained in every action, every decision, every idea – guiding everything from brand positioning and strategy to digital advertising, content, PR and beyond.

And as it gets more important, it becomes a bigger focus for brands.

Now, brands are bringing large scale audience research in-house to get straight to the insights that make a visible difference.

Why? Because the latest tech is making it easy to reach a new audience, or optimise their existing reach.

3. Technology is paving the way for a new brand.

We live in a real-time economy where time is money. And off the back of a global pandemic, this has never been more true.

Reaching (and responding to) consumers at that critical moment and touchpoint in the consumer journey is the bread and butter of any brand. But when the insight, the strategy and the effort sits externally, it’s hard to be reactive enough.

Disruptive tech is empowering brands, giving them more control, more knowledge and more visibility than ever.

By using research to delve into the ‘blind spots’ of their target audiences that were previously off-limits, brands can find out everything they need to know.

Solutions like GWI are making ‘instant insight’ a reality – empowering marketers to get the job down themselves; something that simply wasn’t possible before. Now, they’re:

  • Streamlining their processes.
  • Aligning their strategies.
  • Improving their effectiveness in targeting.

Today’s new, data-empowered brands take more responsibility for, and ownership of, their strategy, keeps sharper tabs on how their spend is allocated, and invests more into strategic thinking and creative talent. And it’s an approach that’s paying off.

4. Strategic thinking is making a comeback.

The radical changes in how consumers behave have left marketers with a new set of priorities. Coming out on top is the move from tactical to strategic.

In a bid to keep pace with a high number of fast-moving trends, the focus for many has largely been placed on tactics, short-term wins and real-time data.

Unfortunately, this meant strategic thinking forged by real research, deep segmentation and refined targeting took a backseat.

Leading brands are now turning back to the fundamentals of strategy, having realised the overarching need for strategic thinking versus tactical immediacy.

To do this, they’re taking robust, reliable and up-to-date consumer data in-house to infuse consumer-centricity in their strategy from end to end; telling them who to target, where to invest, what to measure and how to optimize.

Sounds obvious now, doesn’t it.

5. Agencies and brands are working to their strengths.

But all of this doesn’t mean agencies are losing importance.

Agencies will always be essential to brands for their expertise and creative talent – it’s the way they work together that’s changing.

This new relationship means agencies and brands work even closer, and are establishing a new dynamic.

It means sharing the workload in a more strategic way that offers brands the transparency and control they want, while agencies get to work to their strengths.

This way, expectations from brands can be managed more effectively – and great results are much easier to get.

Fundamentally, you must have a harmonised view of your target audience. This starts with the use of reliable and consistent data.

Brands need to learn from their agencies, using the tools and resources at their disposal to put this into practice.

In today’s shaken-up landscape, you don’t just need great consumer insight – you need insight you can trust.

Please login with linkedin to comment

agency audience research Brands Digital Advertising GWI

Latest News

Coopers Unveils New Look, The First In 20 Years
  • Marketing

Coopers Unveils New Look, The First In 20 Years

Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery, Coopers, has unveiled a brand-new look for its portfolio of naturally conditioned ales and stouts. The first major update to core packaging in 20 years, the iconic Coopers roundel has been refreshed with a modern and clear design showcasing the brand’s heritage and brewing process. The updated packaging follows Coopers’ […]

Domino’s Teases Burger Delivery Innovation
  • Campaigns

Domino’s Teases Burger Delivery Innovation

Domino’s has released an ad campaign announcing its move into burger delivery via It’s Friday. The ad is centralised around the phrase “Finally, burgers made to be delivered”, a reference to Domino’s self-proclaimed title as the experts in food delivery. Adam Ballesty, chief marketing officer of Domino’s ANZ, said: “We’re excited to be able to […]

CHEP Brisbane Launches Bridal Range For Michael Hill Jeweller
  • Campaigns

CHEP Brisbane Launches Bridal Range For Michael Hill Jeweller

Michael Hill Jeweller has launched a new campaign promoting its bridal range by celebrating the love story at the heart of the brand. Developed in partnership with CHEP Brisbane, the campaign leads with a film that explores the story of Sir Michael and Lady Christine Hill, from their first meeting in 1964 through to their […]

Russel Howcroft Re-Signs To Stay With 3AW Breakfast Until 2026
  • Media

Russel Howcroft Re-Signs To Stay With 3AW Breakfast Until 2026

Australian media personality Russel Howcroft has re-signed a multi-year deal as co-host of 3AW’s Breakfast show, which will see him continue to partner Ross Stevenson on Breakfast for another four years. “’We are delighted Russ is committing to 3AW for the long term”, said 3AW station manager, Stephen Beers. “Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft have […]

PASADENA, CA – OCTOBER 10: Mel B attends NBC's
  • Media

The Masked Singer Is Back And It Is A Bonkers Extravaganza

10’s Masked Singer is gearing up to return, and what it lacks in seriousness, it makes up for in silliness and usually ratings. Masked Singer will be airing from Sunday 7th of August, and it is racing onto the scene after the success of 10’s Hunted. EP Tamara Simoneau chatted with B&T, about why 10’s […]

Icon Agency Rockets Into PRovoke APAC Fast Movers Rankings Top Five
  • Marketing

Icon Agency Rockets Into PRovoke APAC Fast Movers Rankings Top Five

Integrated communications firm Icon Agency has been ranked the fourth fastest growing agency in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, according to the 2022 PRovoke PR Agency ‘Fast Movers’ rankings. Icon’s fee income for calendar 2021 grew 84.3 per cent, making it the fastest-growing and largest independent agency in Australia. The Melbourne-based indy was ranked […]

Tiger Brokers Offers Mullet Wigs And Free Tickets In Support Of Melbourne Storm
  • Campaigns

Tiger Brokers Offers Mullet Wigs And Free Tickets In Support Of Melbourne Storm

Tiger Brokers, an online broker for millennials and Gen Z, is offering fans the chance to win sideline seats to Melbourne Storm’s Round 21 clash against the Titans at AAMI Park (Friday 5 August 2022). The campaign has reached its peak, and now every Australian can also have the chance to win a Melbourne Storm […]

Fiftyfive5 Nabs Phil Steggals As Part Of APAC Expansion
  • Media

Fiftyfive5 Nabs Phil Steggals As Part Of APAC Expansion

Australian independent insight consultancy Fiftyfive5 has continued its expansion in the APAC region with the appointment of Phil Steggals (pictured) as head of consulting – APAC region. Phil was the ex-managing director of Kadence in Singapore where he built a team of 35 and delivered insight solutions for a wide range of clients, including Bloomberg, […]