Also known as...
Information Executive; Knowledge Executive; Research Executive; Researcher.
The role in brief...
Insight executives use data collected from premium resources, as well as their own knowledge, to put together cross-sector information and analysis on anything from markets and brands to trends, developments, and recent innovations. Insight teams need to be very flexible, responding quickly to requests with useful actionable insight across a wide range of topics. The ultimate purpose is to help the agency team deliver work that is relevant and cuts new ground for their client’s business.
- Internal: In a Creative agency: Planners; Account management team; Creative teams and directors; New business team.
- Internal: In a Media agency: Media Planners and Buyers, New Business team
- External: Client marketing team; Research organisations and subscription services.
- Insight Executives will usually report into a Head of Insight or Insight Manager/Director or, in some cases, directly to the Head of Account or Media Planning or Planning Director.
- Analysing data and applying it to business problems faced by clients and new business prospects.
- Supporting planners and account directors to develop creative and media briefs through insights gathered from in-depth research into brands, markets, trends, innovations, and consumer behaviour.
- Devising innovative approaches to gathering information if it is not readily available and time is short.
- Presenting ideas in a compelling way over multiple formats, such as email, PowerPoint and face-to-face presentations.
- Learning about people: what they do and why, and being able to explain this to clients and agency teams.
- Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of relevant data sources, and updating subscriptions to premium services.
Those who succeed are...
- Intellectually rigorous and able to extract the useful and important from the clutter i.e. can see the wood for the trees.
- Analytical thinkers, engaged with data, trends, and reports that relate to the challenges faced by clients.
- Curious and inquisitive, interested in human behaviour, brands, social trends and culture.
- Hungry to continue learning.
- Excellent, articulate writers, simplifying and presenting relevant information in a concise and imaginative way.
- They can tell and present a story from the wealth of data they have collated.
- Rigorous, working diligently with large volumes of data and lengthy reports to develop and support insights through a variety of sources.
- Flexible and able to adapt to the wide scope of investigative tasks required, while projects constantly evolve.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Most Insight Executives have experience in research, either at an undergraduate or graduate level. Some will get their first insight job straight after graduating from a degree course with a strong research or data based foundation, but it is also possible to move across from research roles in other industries.
At larger agencies this is done via formal graduate recruitment schemes, typically on an annual basis. In the future Insight Executives may be able to enter via apprenticeship schemes as a Market Researcher apprenticeship is in development.
Insight Executives can go on to more senior positions such as Insight Manager or Head of Insight or Head of Research, or they may transition into planning roles. Others may join specialist research organisations, or take on research roles in client or media organisations.