Aug
6

5 Ways You Know You Are an Awesome Market Researcher

  1. You use multiple research methodologies. You are familiar with multiple research methods, and can match a project’s goals to the best available method. You don’t assume every project is either a survey or a focus group.
  2. You think carefully about sample source. You know when to use panels, communities, social media, and fresh recruiting. You know that all sample sources have limitations, and you don’t just default to the easiest option.
  3. You have an uncanny ability to challenge your own assumptions. Even when your research points you to what seems like an obvious story, you have the discipline to test other ideas before reaching your conclusion.
  4. You can write and speak concisely. You know how to make a point with few words. You know bigger words and longer paragraphs don’t impress your audience, they put it to sleep.
  5. You help people understand how to apply the research. Rather than just delivering research findings and moving on, the awesome researcher gives the client specific examples of how to apply the data. Better still, the awesome researcher checks in with the client after the research is delivered to remind them how the data can be used, because sometimes clients need an extra nudge.

Are there other attributes of an awesome researcher? Of course. But these five are the core. Make sure you have these nailed, and your clients will quickly begin to appreciate your awesomeness.

[Interested in more great Market Research Project Management tips? You’re in luck! We’ve got another session of this live, online Power Program starting soon! Click here to learn more.]

 

Jul
0

Article Synopsis: Still Full of Beanz (Effective Data Management)

How does a 150-year-old company stay relevant?

Originally published in Research Magazine July 9, 2014

By Lucy Fisher

Writer Lucy Fisher asks Colin Haddley, director of strategy, insight and capability at Heinz, “How does Heinz, a 150 year old company, stay relevant with consumers in a competitive market?”, the answer is research.  Innovation doesn’t just happen, “Generating great ideas is essential in marketing, but to generate these ideas you need to be disciplined in your approach,” Haddley points out. Managing market research data efficiently is the key.

Using a philosophy of test and learn, Heinz looks to multiple information sources for research, including electronic-point-of-sale, Nielsen data, panel data, and social media and brand monitoring.  One such panel, Heinz 57, is an online community of 300 consumers that the company uses as a source of customer feedback.

How then does Heinz manage all this data and turn it into successful marketing strategies? With customer insight teams of marketers trained in innovative thinking.  However, a big challenge is integrating the sources of data, and not focusing on any one source of insight. “Penetrating, meaningful insights are derived, felt and observed through a variety of sources of information. It is like building a jigsaw… it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley says.

By piecing all the research together, from the different sources, relevant pieces of customer insight emerge: what consumers like, do not like, want more of, or think is a flaw. “But it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley cautions. While the article didn’t specifically address how different types of market research data are integrated (perhaps that’s a recipe too dear to share), it’s still a great real-world glimpse into the value of leveraging multiple information sources.

This synopsis was written by Lynn Croft, independent marketing and market research consultant. With 15 years of experience at companies such as Genzyme, Bayer Corporation, Shire, and Eli Lilly, Lynn has expertise in market research, market analysis regarding product launches, pricing and lifecycle management. 

 

[Is your quantitative market research data collected & ready for analysis? Now what? Check out Research Rockstar’s real-time, online training program “Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis” for help getting started. MRA PRC approved for 6 hours.]

 

Jul
0

Kathryn’s rant on too many market research conferences

Ever feel overwhelmed by how many solicitations you get to attend market research conferences? You are not alone! Kathryn recorded a video rant on this topic while driving to work.  It includes her decision on how she is going to handle the inundation of conference advertising.

You can also click here to view the video on YouTube.

 

May
0

Market Research & Lost Mojo: Article Synopsis

Andrew Reid, son of Market Research luminary Angus Reid, says Market Research has “lost its mojo.”

In a new article published in Entrepreneur Magazine, Reid states, “In the early 2000s, with the increased use of email, the internet, mobile phones and social media, many companies transformed their way of doing business, but market research companies did not.”  Reid himself is the President of Vision Critical, a well-known provider of market research software and services.

Reid makes some excellent points in a brutally honest way. He asks, “Why do some market researchers still use 15-minute surveys and deliver 60-page reports that companies, their clients, have trouble digesting?” Hard to hear, but so-so-true.  He advocates for short reports, infographics and the Pecha Kucha-style presentation.  I could not agree more: indeed, I think it would be amazing have a panel at one of the market research conferences where, say, 3 market researchers do Pecha Kucha presentations of research results—just so the audience can see that it can be done (warning: it takes more time to prepare this style presentation than to prepare a standard 45 minute one. Really).

So while I applaud his boldness, one of his points about the lost mojo is only partially correct. He says we missed the technology boat in the early 2000′s, stating, “(market researchers) should have worked with early tech adopters to gain insight. And market research companies could have launched products in beta and made some risky decisions. Yet, all they did was undertake the same paper-and-pen surveys.” Intentional hyperbole? Probably. But still factually incorrect. SurveyMonkey was founded in 1999, and they report completing 2 million survey responses a day. And even if SurveyMonkey is the 800 pound gorilla in online survey research, it is still one of more than 50 such companies. Online surveys took off years ago. That is not the issue.

The issue wasn’t technology, it’s what we as researchers did with it. We took the fabulous new technology and applied it to tired old methodologies.

Market researchers remained overly-focused on surveys and focus groups—no matter if done online, or other modes. In fact, as an industry, to this day we allow our profession to be defined by these two methods. Markets research should be defined by our deliverables, not our methods. Our deliverables are discovering and measuring customer attitudes and behaviors. Our methods are surveys (whether paper, online, phone, etc.), focus groups (in-person or online), and these days at least ten other options.  Yet we continue to be perceived as “surveys and focus groups.” Ask even a group of market researchers what comes to mind first when they think of the phrase “market research”, and most will say “surveys” or “focus groups.” I know, I have asked this question at public speaking venues.

So kudos to Reid for A) getting an article about market research in a business magazine and for B) being bold in his assessments. But if we really want to get market research’s mojo back, we have to make sure we are offering more than surveys and focus groups.

Read Reid’s article here.

Written by Kathryn Korostoff
KKorostofff@ResearchRockstar.com

 

May
0

Yes, Market Research is Work

I’ll be blunt: market research takes real work. Sometimes hard work. And sometimes tedious work.

We used to live in a simpler world. Everything was surveys and focus groups. Not that those are easy, but at least their risk factors and best practices are known.

Now we have over a dozen methodologies, constant new software options, and the uncertain threat that substitutes from outside of our realm may be about to storm the castle.

So on top of our normal work, excellence requires that we are constantly expanding our knowledge set, learning new tools, and responding to what can often be uncomfortable questions about market research validity and relevance.

So if you long for the simpler days, you are out of luck. And if you are thinking about getting into the field, and have some misguided idea that the work is easy, forget it.

To be a good market researcher, you will need to work hard. You will need to do real work. You will need to develop the ability to judge and critique—even your own work. You will have times when you will “do it over,” need help, and possibly even under-deliver. You will have late nights or early mornings in order to meet the unintended but inescapable confluence of project deadlines.

But you will also find the clients appreciative (usually), the data fascinating (often), and the thrill of discovering new insights about customer attitudes and behaviors empowering (always).

Market research isn’t for wimps. But it’s definitely for me.

 

[Please share your thoughts on this topic using the comments tool here! I’d really like to hear what others think about the work of market research.]