Will client insight functions survive the recession?

Michael Harvey

In the heady days of late summer last year, before the world as we knew it collapsed, I was very happy to give my opinion that client side 'insight' functions were here to stay.

These new 'insight' functions had steadily been established in client companies since the late 1990s for the same reason that account planning grew up 30 years ago in advertising agencies – management was fed up with the old-fashioned market research departments adding impenetrable data to the process rather than any useful implications that would drive the business.

So in the 1970s, the old advertising agency quantitative researchers were replaced by more qualitative thinkers whose role was to to inspire the creative teams and nurture the creative work forward. This role was adding value to the agency business of producing ads and so caught on rapidly.