Reviewing existing knowledge and current practice
What is it?
Maximising the value of existing knowledge and insight from a variety of sources, including knowledge from literature reviews, and stakeholder views. More >
Knowledge may be stored in reports, databases, journals and books, or held in the memories of people involved. Greater value can be added through ‘insight’ which is defined by the Cabinet Office as: “A deep ‘truth’ about the customer based on their behaviour, experiences, beliefs, needs or desires, that is relevant to the task or issue and ‘rings bells’ with target people.”
Why do this?
- By learning from previous successes (and failures) and building on these, mistakes can be avoided and good practice established. More >
Understanding the audience is crucial for selecting appropriate target groups and relevant interventions. Information and insight can improve decision-making and reduce potential sources of risk at all stages of the process
How might you do this?
Assemble existing knowledge and information. Two key areas are: knowledge of the potential target audiences and the factors influencing behaviour; and knowledge of previous relevant social marketing interventions. It is useful to:
- Draw on secondary and/or primary sources as appropriate. Secondary data is information which is already available and therefore not collected for the particular purpose in hand.
- Primary data refers to information which is collected for the specific project in hand. Here we are identifying existing knowledge rather than new information about the target market.
- Develop ‘actionable insights’ as you move from information and understanding to ‘insight’ around which you can build an intervention. More >
There is no set way of developing insight, but generally it emerges through a process of discussion among people who are familiar with the evidence, data, theory and market research. You need to decide what process you will use to agree the insights generated about your programme.
You could set up a specific meeting or meetings with relevant stakeholders and team members to agree the insights you have gained from previous work to understand your target audience, and what will and will not work. Remember that insight will indicate how you will intervene and may be revised after you have pre-tested your interventions
- Assess what you are going to do with information before you commission or begin to collect it
- Assess different views, as people often have different memories of, and perspectives on, the same event or project
- Consider the potential for bias in individual reports or interpretations of events and previous interventions
- Go to www.naedi.org for information on current projects and programmes of work, cancer networks will also have perspective on what is going on nationally. The evidence base around early diagnosis is available in a special Diagnosing Cancer Earlier Supplement of the British Journal of Cancer and may also be useful.
- Try an Internet search using key words (such as ‘cancer awareness PCT’ or ‘teenage pregnancy PCT’) to find relevant projects
- A review of existing knowledge of the potential target audiences and the factors influencing behaviour
- A review of existing knowledge of previous relevant social marketing activities
- Gaining insight into the planning process
- Gaining insight into successful and unsuccessful approaches to the current challenge
- Familiarity with information collection procedures which will be relevant to later stages of the programme