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Consumer Insights Case Study

Primary Market Research

The Problem

Client produced primary market research in many different business units around the world and each collection was siloed so insights were not shared across geographic units. As a result, inefficiencies were rampant:

  • Responding to regulatory requests required three staff members and 45 staff days per request
  • Client had no efficient way of searching the many licensed market research collections from third parties which could also eliminate or reduce the scope of new research
  • Delays in answering essential product development and marketing questions that could impact time to market negatively were common
  • Client’s content repository for primary research used a search strategy that was tag and metadata restricted, making it hard to find relevant prior research that could eliminate or reduce the scope of proposed new research

Client Objectives:

  1. Improve the search to include excellent, robust, precise search of the full-text of the market research document collection
  2. Reduce time and effort to locate relevant market research to quickly make smart business decisions
  3. Enable the finding of relevant prior and subscription research to eliminate or reduce the scope of new research
  4. Improve knowledge management and increase employee productivity in the market research department
  5. Speed time to market by increasing content usage by product management, marketing management, and product development staff
  6. Enforce compliance with the defined workflow and reduce labor to respond to regulatory requests
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Having everything available in one global market research collection produced productivity and financial gains that exceeded even our high expectations for the knowledge management system. But what we really discovered was how many business decisions and outcomes could be impacted with the right market research portal solution.That was the big win.”

Director of Market Research

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What Northern Light does:

  • Created and operates a market research knowledge management platform that aggregates and indexes all of the primary and subscription research from all of the business units around the world
  • Deployed the Northern Light Search Engine that indexes the full-text of all documents and provides a variety of options for precise search results such as proximity, Boolean expressions, phrase searching, concept searching, date selections, and more
  • Enabled a policy of “Search SinglePoint First” in the workflow, which required the first section of each new research proposal report on results of a literature search of prior existing and subscription research
  • Exposed the research portal to the entire enterprise while enforcing rigid requirements for document access by user, enabling a self-service platform for finding relevant market research by product managers, marketing managers, and product development staff


  • Client saved $1 million per month in avoided consumer insight studies as a result of users finding relevant prior and subscription research that addressed the business need
  • Client cut time to market by six to nine months on key product launches, beating the competition to market and producing $2 billion in annual revenue gains; the organization credited these gains to the market research department’s efficiency in answering product feature and marketing questions more quickly
  • Client reduced the time to respond to regulatory requests from 135 staff days per request to 45 staff minutes
  • Productivity of the market research staff tripled as measured by studies/employee/year, which meant the market research staff was impacting three times more business decisions than before
  • Client saved $100 million on one decision over a weekend when an M&A staff member found reports in the SinglePoint portal from overseas divisions that were negative about an acquisition the client was evaluating
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