One of the major considerations when thinking about starting an Insight Community is who will be running it? Is it better to simply buy a platform and have your internal team run the day-to-day or have an external agency handle everything? Here are the pros and cons of both.  

Benefits of self service 

Inhouse insight teams will always have a better understanding of the brand history, company values, competitors and goals of the company. Understanding both the data and the realities of day-to-day business will more easily allow an internal team to create actionable insights that are realistic and achievable in nature.  

Inhouse teams will also better understand who the key stakeholders are in the organisation, and so are more likely to be able to get internal buy-in. They will also have a better understanding of the outputs and formats that will need to be presented from the community. 

Downsides of self service 

A challenge for any inhouse insight team is remaining objective despite the various internal factors placed upon them. Sometimes the very fact that an inhouse team understands the practicalities of the business may lead to ideas being overlooked from communities or conclusions being developed despite conflicting research. 

Time is obviously the biggest concern for an inhouse team and where there are other priorities, it is not uncommon for a community to lose traction and for churn of participants to increase. Organisations quite often underestimate the amount of time required in the set-up and running of Insight Communities and can lose momentum where this activity is seen as an ‘add on’ to someone’s role. At the same time hiring someone specifically to run the community will increase the overall cost.  

Benefits of outsourcing  

Most often the agency that builds the platform/ will be the ones running it and so this reduces the amount of time and training needed in terms of running the platform from a technical point of view. 

Where an inhouse team may understand the company better, an outsourced agency often offers a greater breadth of research knowledge and may be better informed on the latest trends/best practice surrounding research techniques. An outsourced agency will naturally be more objective in their findings and will have a speciality in the setup and running of Insight Communities which may allow them to move faster than an internal staff member. 

Downsides of outsourcing 

The sign of a great insight function is the demand for regular projects from the wider business. No matter how closely an outsourced agency works with your brand, they ultimately are not part of your organisation, and may have a harder time connecting with stakeholders and gaining visibility across different functions. In having a smaller remit, it is easier for outsourced agencies to get side-lined or fail to deliver impactful work. 

Although an outsourced agency may work out cheaper on a project by project basis, it may be more cost effective to hire your own team members when thinking about long-term projects. 

Combined? 

An Insight Community should be one tool helping you to incorporate the voice of the customer into everything you do. An outsourced agency can work very closely with your existing team, bringing their specialist knowledge around the set-up and running of an Insight Community with your existing team’s knowledge of the business. 

 

 

 


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