An in-depth investigation requires a lot of senior time and time is the one thing senior people don’t have.
Your staff further down the hierarchy may have the time. But do they have the knowledge of business to go after ‘the big picture’ and the experience to orchestrate an inquiry that will yield big picture solutions? Also, across a wide range of different types of sources, knowledge of what analyses are possible and how they can be done is required. Do you really have this in-house?
Data for customer attitudes and behaviour, sales, competitor intelligence, complaints, media, etc may be held by different departments and those in charge of each silo have little incentive to consider other data because any findings there would be outside their responsibility. What may be needed is a complete overview and synthesis.
Making use of your data to pinpoint the answer to a tough business problem often requires a custom-built approach because your business situation is unique. Standard approaches won’t work. But many companies lack the in-house expertise to develop a unique new approach to data-analysis themselves.
The joke is: if you ask your advertising agency for help they invariably reply: “The answer is advertising – what’s the question”!
As for conventional marketing services agencies, they are normally specialists, only operating in their own particular part of the marketing mix. But it is very important not to constrain the search for opportunities to a particular area because there is no telling where the answers may lie. One of the large management consultancies might be the people to use but this is likely to be very expensive.
Well, where else is growth to come from in the current economic situation? The usual answers are Acquisitions or Innovation.
Of course, thinking about new products and services, and acquisitions, is vital although both can be highly risky. But surely the existing business should be given a searching look too. It is a mistake to neglect existing business where hidden opportunities may lie – particularly as the costs there are usually already largely or wholly covered so growth is highly profitable.