Whew! Congratulations. You’ve officially made it through four unprecedented economic shifts in three years. From an economy going along swimmingly, to the whole world going dark, then lights-on. Full throttle. And now, a crossroads.
So here we are. And everyone is wondering, ‘What’s next?’ What we know is that returning to something resembling ‘normal’ isn’t likely. The headwinds of supply chain disruption, waning consumer confidence and a tight labor market will remain with us for a while. It is possible that the economy cools and we enter a brief recessionary period (or perhaps we’re in one now?) followed by recovery. Or not.
In truth, no one knows. If nothing else, the last few years have taught us to expect the unexpected, build for flexibility and plan for uncertainty.
Fortunately, Escalent has been doing this with clients for years. Especially so in the past few years, as corporate market research, competitive intelligence and innovation teams have had to dramatically redesign how their teams work, and what works for their teams. According to a 2022 Greenbook report, 15% of buyer side researchers saw their teams shrink as a result of the pandemic. And when the economy started to improve, it was not so easy to get those people back.
In 2021, as the economy showed signs of a comeback—albeit in select sectors and geographies—many of our clients found themselves in a staffing squeeze. Their teams were lean, hiring was tight, and suddenly every stakeholder’s research initiative was back on the front burner.
Over the years, we’ve seen several reasons why shifting to a flexible staff augmentation model made sense for our clients. Here are a few.
The faster data moves, and the more of it there is, the more data-driven decision-making accelerates. Businesses must respond to rapid changes in what consumers want and need in response to their own accelerating environment. Your stakeholders are moving quickly too, and you want to be right there with them, adjusting priorities and pivoting.
Having a right-sized dedicated team of researchers and analysts can ensure you stay ahead of stakeholder needs, while keeping your core team focused on strategic priorities and saving them from burnout.
In times of uncertainty, we tend to work under a framework of risk reduction. That includes consumers as well as business decision-makers. Your consumers may gravitate to trusted brands in uncertain times (which makes it a good time to double down on building brand trust!)
The same goes with your internal stakeholders. After all, what is research if not a tool for mitigating risk? The need for research and analytics to support high-stakes decisions will go up in times of uncertainty.
A staff augmentation model designed for market researchers allows clients to adjust the level of support they need. Ramp up during surge times and down during quiet hours. Thus mitigating your risk of being over or under-staffed, while ensuring you maintain that hard-earned trust with your stakeholders.
Some clients initially bristle at the thought of market research outsourcing, mainly because they’ve had negative experiences with insufficiently trained analysts who rotate on and off their business.
Our staff augmentation model is different. As a managed service, your auxiliary team is thoroughly dedicated to your business. Clients get their own team of seasoned researchers and analysts who build institutional knowledge. They learn to anticipate your needs and act as an extension of your own team, while also maintaining the flexibility to scale up or down, in sync with workstream demand. We’re an insights and analytics company, not a generic staffing service, so we understand the skill sets required and the need for durability.
Perhaps best of all, a successful staff augmentation solution frees up your best strategic minds to focus on what you hired them to do. Find out more in our Guide to Boosting Bandwidth & Winning Back Time with staff augmentation services from Escalent.