What Is an Expert Network?
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An expert network connects its clients with experts who have deep experience in specific industries or fields. These experts provide valuable insights that can help investors or other business professionals make more informed decisions. Expert networks are particularly useful for providing access to first-hand insights that help clients gain a better understanding of an audience, industry, or market. GLG was the first expert network, founded in 1998, creating the industry we now know.
Expertise is not easy to come by. When GLG talked to David Edelman, a GLG Network Member and former CMO of Aetna, he told us that “when you’re using data to make comparisons, often they require a level of insight that the data and information cannot reveal…you need to talk to people [that can help you] get a degree of insight and granularity [so you can] really understand.”
How Does an Expert Network Apply Expertise?
Expert networks understand this and work to recruit and vet experts who can meet client needs. Most expert networks serve the financial industry and include private equity firms, hedge funds, and the like. GLG dramatically widens the scope to many industries, including technology, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics, and consumer goods, among others.
GLG also provides experts to support consultants and litigators in need of highly specialized professionals in any number of fields.
Experts can come from a wide range of backgrounds, including academia, government, and industry. For example, GLG’s expert network includes professionals with a wide range of expertise and seniority, from hands-on practitioners to C-level executives. Once an expert is recruited, they are typically trained in how to interact with clients and are then matched based on their areas of expertise.
Clients typically use expert networks to gain access to information and insights that are not easily available through desk research. Expert networks also allow their clients to quickly gather a range of perspectives, allowing them to see topics from different angles. Perspectives can come from company executives, customers, former customers, competitors, and more. This information can include industry trends, competitive intelligence, and market forecasts.
How to Use an Expert Network
The expertise that experts can share is key to understanding industries and markets. With so many perspectives at their disposal, clients can quickly dig deep into markets, gaining an understanding of customer needs and pain points, marketplace competitors, and gaps in the market, among other insights.
The standard tool available at most expert networks is the expert call. These are one-on-one calls where a client can connect for a phone consultation with an expert from a relevant industry or specific company who can provide otherwise hard-to-find insights unique to that individual’s role. Expert networks like GLG offer qualitative and quantitative research options beyond 1:1 calls, including focus groups and highly targeted market research surveys.
What Are the Benefits of an Expert Network?
One of the key benefits of expert networks is that they can provide clients access to a wide range of experts with different areas of expertise. For example, an investor interested in the healthcare industry might want to speak to experts in drug development, medical devices, and healthcare policy. An expert network like GLG can provide access to experts in any of these areas, which can be difficult to find through other means.
Expert networks also typically provide space for clients and experts to conduct their work in a blinded manner as appropriate. For example, GLG’s clients may choose to conduct work on a blinded basis in order to minimize the potential for bias or speculation in the space. It’s important to recognize that there are certain constraints on the information experts can share, including never sharing confidential information. The best expert networks implement rigorous compliance standards that limit the exchange of information, safeguarding both client and expert from potential risk. Another benefit of expert networks is that they can provide a more efficient and cost-effective way for investors to gain access to industry insights. They provide access to a wide range of experts in a relatively short period and at a lower cost. When seeking out an expert network, look for depth of experience, both in the professionals helping you reach your research goals and the network that fuels its insights.