Shared drives are the most commonly used tool for managing market research content. Unfortunately, shared drives often become a black hole. Aggregating research in one place is a great start, but it won’t ensure that it gets used when employees are making important business decisions. The pace of business is too fast. You need tools that keep the voice of the customer right at your fingertips.

Because research content is often left for dead in a shared drive, companies spend tens of thousands of dollars conducting new research instead of mining existing data. 3M wanted a different outcome and they embarked on a journey with 24tru to solve this problem and change the way their company looks at research data.

Step one was to make sure that finding your content was easy. Really, really easy. Researchers need to look up keywords, pull insights from existing data and apply that learning to new business questions. No more combing through document by document, hoping you’ll find that needle in the haystack. The research platform would need to deliver keyword search, to be able to crawl within and across all of 3M’s research assets, from PPT reports to video and audio files.

The next step was to make it possible to edit your research content and bring the story together. The 3M team wanted editing tools to pull the perfect text verbatim, to grab an image, or to edit a video into a series of clips, essentially making their own customer-centric movie. Qualitative data such as video can be very time-consuming for researchers to edit. Many times, researchers will employ several different tools for editing, which means a lot of programs are open at once, causing inefficiency and frustration. Researchers need one convenient place with tools to clip raw responses, piece together important moments in playlists, and capture insights from historical reports.

The third challenge was the inability to effectively communicate via shared drives. Research is about getting the right information in the right hands in an organization. Decisions need to be made. Commenting, sharing and collaborating are vital to bringing research to life. Presenting those findings is an important aspect of the researcher’s job.

It needs to be fast and easy. Secure links and permissions are necessary to keep the research data safe and in the right hands at all times.

The future of the market research industry is bright and exciting. With new eye tracking software and mobile methodologies it is easy to get caught up in the latest research trends. But companies should take time to mine what they already have to be as efficient as possible. A great quote from James Baldwin puts it nicely, “If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

Research intelligence. Enterprise-wide sharing and curating. Editing, sharing and extending existing and new insights. Leveraging video and documents. Storytelling. The future.

Most marketing research databases are powerpoint graveyards, but they don’t have to be. Learn to give your marketers and researchers access to intuitively find the documents, images and videos they’re looking for, ask questions of your current data and create new conversations about existing knowledge when Brooks Pettus and Dawn Cunningham present Access to Knowledge: Have You Got a CLUE? at the 2015 MRA Insights & Strategies Conference on Wednesday, June 3, from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.