Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't throw away half of your market research effort

Two months ago the advertising agency Grabarz & Partner said good bye to their client EDEKA (Germany’s largest food retailer) who had decided to chose one of Grabarz’s competitors for further brand development and marketing activities.

While this has happened quite often in the history of brands and agencies, Grabarz & Partner have placed an ad in a German marketing magazine to appropriately finish more than seven years of award winning creative work with the client. The title of the ad: “How to create a brand – a 15 step guide”.

Personally I think this is a good thing to do, but step 5 I found worrying. It says: “Replace 50% of your market research effort by common sense”, suggesting that market research …

a) has limited ability to support creating a brand

b) is - by stating the obvious much too often - not revealing enough brand insights.

Depending on the perspective, this is either the truth or another act of MR-bashing.

Regardless of the reader judging step 5 to be right or wrong, the message itself gains importance for our industry because it was published in a marketing magazine (and widely shared and discussed throughout the social web). And readers of marketing magazines usually are part of MR clients.

Maybe we should think about reputation of our MR industry and how to improve...

First of all teaming up and seeking allies in the form of advertising agencies is key. There should be more joint approaches between our professions in order to level up consumer understanding and consequential brand and marketing programs.

Furthermore we should begin to think about public relation activities for market research. For many years – and maybe this is a local challenge in Germany – PR has only existed in order to promote new tools but not to position market research as an insight-partner. Insights are more interesting than methodological details so we shouldn’t hide behind our tools. To marketing MR to other industries like brand consulting or advertising in order to get a greater share of voice, means more than press releases about new methodologies. 

Requirements in these times are changing rapidly, that’s right. But one thing is key: we will have to think more from the perspective of users of insights to leveraging research, assessing methodology and challenging ourselves and our research. By improving our ability to change the perspective we will be much more able to demonstrate the strategic and actionable possibilities and values of market research.

And maybe the next ad about “How to create a brand” will replace step 5 by “work with your market research colleagues in close cooperation on real brand insights”

Make sure that you join us at the The Market Research Event 2012, hosted by IIRUSA November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, FL. For more about this year's program download the agenda.

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Today's guest post is from Christian Dössel (@olympiamilano). Christian is Senior Research Director at MM-Eye, a market research and research consulting firm in Hamburg / Germany. He has worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other advertising, strategy and market research agencies helping clients from industries such as finance, transport and logistics, telecommunication and entertainment to understand consumers through market research and to increase implementation excellence. He will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. If you'd like to join him, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

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