Marty McFly

Repeat Insight Projects & Trackers

Back to Future is that classic sequel that you can watch over and over again, every time you watch it you find yourself enjoying different scenes. As a kid I was always in love with the hoverboard scene or the part when the pizza went into the Hydrator. As I’ve grown older, it’s the part when the Doc says: “But time travelling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe – women”.  

I often think about what makes the Back to Future films so much fun to watch. Some people hate sequels, especially ones that have the same storyline each time. What made this set of sequels so special and what can Insight professionals learn from these films?

Same characters, Same story line but better each time: In each film the Doc and Marty go back in time then to the future and back to the present and Biff is always the villain. However, you learn something new each time about the characters and the storyline evolves naturally. The first film is about saving Marty’s parents, the next is about saving his romance and the last is about saving Doc.

My thoughts go to those longitudinal trackers or ad-hoc studies that come around in periodic cycles. I think us Insight professionals should take inspiration from how these films were made when we embark on sharing the latest insights from a tracker with our organisation. We should ask ourselves:

1.     How can we build on what we last recommended? Remind the audience of the previous wave’s achievements and recommendations. Show the audience an update on those findings. We don’t need to spend too much time on this, but the reminder is a keen scene setter.

2.     How can we create familiarity? Like the film uses distinctive assets, I also think that we need to create distinctive asset in our outputs that visually signposts the tracker – I feel we Insight Professionals often forget this part, why don’t we brand our trackers better? Use charting styles unique to that study in follow up waves. For those of us that work with Marketing professionals, lets not forget they leverage distinctive brand assets all the time to create salience, so why shouldn’t we.   

3.     How can we land new news? We should pay attention to what the new news is going to be each wave, otherwise I’m not sure we need to deliver an output. However, ultimately if we are not finding that new news insight, future expenditure on that tracker will be at risk.

4.     Showcase what we have done differently this time? I also think its important to show how the process of analysis or data capture has changed since the previous wave. This might not always be the case, but we should challenge ourselves to be innovative in the how we analyse or capture the data in future waves of that same research – its only then can we discover new news. Do we do this enough?

So, let’s go back to the future with our trackers and create more excitement so that every time we present insights from them we captivate our audiences even more.     

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