Best PracticesMarket Research

Principles of Remarkable Research: Part 9 of 20

Remarkable Research Sets Realistic Expectations with Clients

One aspect of setting client expectations is by distinguishing between confirming existing insights or discovering new insights.

  • When I walk into a store because its ad promises, “The latest in kitchen appliances” and I am greeted by a display of side-by-side refrigerators and four-burner electric stoves, my initial excitement is sucked out of me. Even if I don’t leave right away, I am now on high bait-and-switch alert. If we promise research clients (internal or external) “exciting” research, but what we deliver just confirms stuff they already know, it’s a market research bait-and-switch. The client is let down. So we need to be careful and position the new research precisely. Is it stuff they already know and are we seeking to confirm or quantify it? Or is it about new strategy-altering topics? Both are legitimate types of research. But we need to set expectations correctly, or we will be viewed as shucksters.

[This is the ninth article in a series of 20 mini-posts titled, “Principles of Remarkable Research.” Don’t want to miss this series? Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS.]


Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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3 thoughts on “Principles of Remarkable Research: Part 9 of 20”

  1. I think this is a really good tip. When I’m looking at commissioning some research projects, sometimes all I want is a robust research study. It doesn’t need to be new or exciting. It just needs to be good, scientific research that I can rely on to help my internal teams make decisions.

      1. Ma’am,
        I have gone through quite a few of your posts and i found them quite informative and savvy just like this one.
        I am actually interning with a market research company and I needed a little help if possible. I was basically trying to understand what parameters guide a company to choose a supplier/ consultant for market research.
        Although I have a few on my list now, I would love to know your take on it.

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