Less is more: Walmart and Sam's Club reimagine insights

Geoffrey Precourt

Cindy Casper was only doing her job. The head of category marketing at Sam's Club had planned a meeting to brief his creative and media agencies about a new holiday program, and asked Casper – the company's senior director/insights and research – for some fresh inspiration.

Her boss's response to the resultant information download: "I don't know where to start with insights, because you've buried me in papers."

"My heart sank, but we needed to create an engaging, clear direction for this kickoff meeting," Casper told delegates at the 2013 Market Research Event (TMRE) – a conference run by the Institute for International Research and held in Nashville, Tennessee.

Casper, who joined Sam's Club four years ago from American Greetings – where she spent the previous four years as director of consumer insights – added that this reaction to receiving too much data might, indeed, reflect a larger corporate priority.