Knowledge is Power...But It's Only as Good as Your Knowledge Partner.

By Insights for Curious Marketers Archives
Cover image for  article: Knowledge is Power...But It's Only as Good as Your Knowledge Partner.

For better or worse, I’ll forever be a planner. It’s been ingrained in my psyche that I must spend every dollar purposefully, eliminating wasteful impressions and generating the best result for my clients. As I’ve told my partners for years, “we must win each day!” (i.e., every dollar spent must equal a result). It’s my perspective now, this is more important than ever. The marketplace is fragile. Covid has created a new norm which none of us in marketing and advertising have had to plan for before. We must pivot on the fly - be more strategic in our approach - extra thoughtful about our audiences - every dollar needs to be allocated for the win.

The right knowledge empowers you to plan confidently and solve for these needs, which makes your choice of knowledge partner really important. After years as a heavy user of advertising data tools, I believe data must be current and connected, with breadth and granularity to be actionable for you and your team.


Speed of change was already on our minds, and it’s on steroids with the current upheaval of normal life. Trends are accelerating, stalling, and reversing with unbelievable speed. We need to know what’s going on last week, not just last year.

Most brand health trackers show you how you were doing last quarter. Traditional audience profiling tools give you a view into a year ago. Once upon a time that was good enough, but it’s no longer relevant. We need to understand what happened last week to decide what to do next week.

At YouGov, we interview thousands of people every single day from the largest owned panel. The data in our dashboards is updated weekly. Properly cleaned & weighted data doesn’t get much more recent than that.

For years, big news in the packaged foods space has been the decline in cereal eating. Cereal went from a staple in the pantry and must buy to a consideration. With the decline largely driven by breakfast bought on-the-go while commuting, it’s not a surprise that we’re seeing cereal sales increase this year. The recency of YouGov's data allowed us to pinpoint that household penetration of a leading cereal brand began increasing during the third week of March, when workplaces and schools began going remote.

It’s timely insights like this that helped the brand to pivot quickly, adapt spend in the market, and thus, be top of mind for those consumers and capture a larger share of wallet. Leaning into these real time trends enabled this brand to accelerate household penetration growth +11% year over year by June. Brilliant. {Hint, couldn’t do this with data that’s stale from a year ago...or even a brand tracker you won’t see until after the quarter closes.}


One of my frustrations in the past was that my team had access to a lot of tools, each containing useful but siloed information, leaving us to make leaps of faith with the data, to connect the dots in the story. We couldn’t, for example, use our audience profiling tool to profile and then target people who consider but do not purchase our client’s brand.

YouGov understands the value of integration across metrics, which is why we’ve designed interlocking brand health and audience profiling products and invested in integrating all of our data into one unified data cube powering all of our dashboards.

As an example, looking at a leading beauty brand’s current customers vs. those who consider but don’t purchase, we saw notable differences in the competitive set and product usage between these two groups -- one embracing a more natural, skincare focused look and the other being more focused on makeup for style and creativity.

With a competitive marketplace and big sales goals to hit, this beauty brand needed to persuade both audiences, but their approach can’t be one-size-fits-all. Their messaging and media needs to be customized for each audience in order to drive growth both by bringing in new customers and earning a bigger share of wallet among current customers. Isn’t this learning you wish you had on the fly!?! Good news, YouGov can help you with that.


To successfully deliver growth, we need a foundational understanding of people. Key questions to answer...Who do I need to reach? Where can I reach my target with my message? What is my source of growth? The brilliant basics of Planning 101.

At YouGov, we collect brand health metrics for thousands of brands and collect over 450,000 demographic, lifestyle, and media consumption variables for profiling audiences globally. We’re not just a US-based knowledge partner, and we create additional synergy and consistency of knowledge across markets for global brands. {Bonus: you can action off the audiences you build programmatically.}

Our clients use our syndicated data to understand the WHO, the HOW and the WHY. They get current views of their performance in the purchase funnel, monitor brand perception, and develop deep knowledge of what their current and prospective users value, how they spend their time, what they watch and listen to and read.

And our products don’t just power our clients’ planning, they power their activations as well. As an example, John Hancock in partnership with CNN created a really cool piece of content utilizing insights powered by YouGov, that pulls in our Profiles data to look at people's differing views on wealth across the country. It’s useful, interactive and updated real time with our data sets. Check it out live by clicking below:


One final note on breadth of coverage. Streamlining your knowledge partners is important for making sure the knowledge gets leveraged by your team.Too many data sources, too many logins, too many platforms to learn = inefficient, ineffective, and often unused resources. Its wasted data and wasted money if you don’t leverage the full potential of your tools. I also know that many of you are facing pressures to select fewer partners who can provide more comprehensive solutions, like we offer at YouGov. We’re aware organizations are looking for financial savings anywhere they can be found. YouGov is a one-stop-shop which puts the knowledge you need at your fingertips in our easy to use products and dashboards.


How is my brand doing? It’s a question smart marketers ask continuously, and often find themselves having to answer for their leadership. To answer this question, we need current data and we need to contextualize it. Is 60% brand consideration good? It not only depends on comparing ourselves to competitors, but it also depends on what it looked like last month and last year -- are we trending up or down or flat?

Conducting thousands of interviews every day enables YouGov to provide years of trended daily data. Our clients are able to spot trends faster, and to correlate consumer response more directly to new campaigns, PR stories, content/product launches — allowing them to learn and adapt faster. We help clients understand & action based on changes to real life metrics like brand perception and purchase behavior, which are more reliable and actionable measures of impact than media metrics like CTR. Let’s face it, if the average CTR is under 1%, that means over 99% of people are not clicking -- your decisions should be based on how your campaign is moving the hearts, minds, and wallets of the 99% who don’t click.

As an example, a personal care brand was facing not-so-flattering news stories about litigation. Using the daily trended data available in YouGov BrandIndex, they identified that some, but not all news stories correlated with increase in negative WOM, and they validated that their ad campaign drove a lift in positive WOM when above a certain spend threshold. Equipped with this knowledge, the brand team, media agency, and PR agency collaborated to monitor WOM, recalibrate the media plan to create more flexibility, and were able to respond quickly to mitigate the impact of negative WOM with increased ad spend. The result: the brand was able to protect sales through smart, agile leveraging of their knowledge and ad spend.

In short, you’ll have actionable knowledge if your team is armed with data that is current and connected, with the right breadth and granularity to match the scope and cadence of your decisions. YouGov is a unique knowledge partner that can actually check all of these boxes.

The best part of my job is helping partners solve problems -- I’d love to discuss your challenges and strategize about how YouGov offerings can help you solve them. Feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email me at -- Look forward to collaborating. Send your request here.

Photos courtesy of Tamara Alesi.

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