"As the world becomes more and more complex, we've really seen the need to invest into research and insights to dig deep," Hotwire co-president Laura Macdonald tells Doug Simon.

She says that in a rapidly changing marketplace, communicators need to leverage "data and insights from today to really allow us to make the right bets."

Just as your data needs to be up-to-date, Macdonald says, do does your approach. That requires knowing exactly whre audiences stand right now. "Let's go talk to those people that you're trying to reach and really understand what's happening with them and then use the right levers at our disposal."

And the emergence of Generation Alpha (those born after 2010) makes keeping abreast of the latest data and research even more pivotal.

"They're going to be not just entering the workforce, but being the purchase power, they are already having influence. And so, the more that we can understand them now, the more that we can make those changes that we know take businesses a really long time," she says.

Macdonald also talks about how the boundaries between B2B and B2C are blurring, and what that means. "We call it 'business to human' or 'human to human,'" she tells Simon. "We've been really thinking about the people that we want to talk to, the actual audience, and all the factors that that make them up and taking that approach."

When it comes to technology, she says that the ability "to talk a technology story has never been more important, and technology has become incredibly mainstream."

How to get the data you need to make decisions is also discussed. "We've hired strategy experts from different backgrounds who are really experienced about what are the right ways to go out and collect that data. So, again, it varies case by case, but it could be focus groups, it can be quantitative research, it can be qualitative kind of research, all of those coming together."

The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion is also addressed. "I think it's really important to bring diversity of experience into your team," Macdonald says. "Forty percent of our team are people of color. That's really important, not just because it's important from a DE&I standpoint, but if we're going to go out and talk to people, which is what we want to do, we need to make sure that we're talking to all people and not just in our little Silicon Valley bubble."

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