Tuesday, October 29, 2013

75 Slides

Today's post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.  



A resounding theme we heard again and again at #TMRE13 this year was "no more 75-slide decks."  In many of the sessions we also heard "there needs to be a tailored approach depending on your audience." 

I know, I know, not earth-shattering insights, but apparently the industry needs to hear this as I saw lots of heads nodding and sheepish looks when those 75-slide deck reports were mentioned. 

As an aside - we're obviously all crazysmart if a 75-slide report is the easy way out!

But back to the topic. It's hard not to want to be everything to everyone, and deliver all the data and insights that someone may ever need. But if you aren't considering your audience and delivering insights in a format that works for them you're going to lose them...and you both lose out: they don't 'get' your insights and you lose your audience.

We heard several different alternatives to the 75-slide deck at #TMRE13 including: 

-A 'Top 5 Insights' mobile-optimized infographic (mentioned by Sarah Ryan of TNS and Ramona Harvey of eBay

-Workshops workshops workshops (mentioned by Kate Pomeroy of Pernod Ricard USA and Dorothy White and Leigh O'Donnell of Mars Petcare

-Inviting the client to take part in the research, and their takeaway is their experience, not a slide deck (mentioned by several speakers

As mentioned above, know your audience (apparently we need reminding of this!) and determine what resonates with the right- or left-brain thinking of your audience. The manner and method that you present your findings to your CFO and his team will (hopefully!) be different than how you would present your findings to your magazine's editorial team. 

While we’re on the topic of data delivery and reporting, I want to reference a research report that recently came out from Confirmit.   

Confirmit recently released the results of their 9th Annual MR Software Survey in which they noted the findings as ‘one step forward, two steps back’.  Backwards in terms of survey length not conforming quickly enough to mobile and companies’ waning commitment to panel quality.  Forward in terms of new data collection methods.  

However, what caught my eye in the findings was the following:


“The survey also found another backwards step for MR agencies. They seem reluctant to move away from Microsoft PowerPoint during the reporting phase, in spite of the clear benefits of using digital dashboards, interactive analysis and online static reports. Indeed, there has been a surge in the use of Excel as researchers strive to provide clients with reports that can be manipulated.”

However, in keeping with the 'know your audience' theme above, do clients want reports that can be manipulated? Is it really a 'backward step' to be using PowerPoint? To me it's less the tool (I've seen good and bad PowerPoints, as have we all) and it's more delivering what will resonate most with the audience. If the audience finds comfort and familiarity with slides to better ingest insights, then go with that. If your audience is hungry for data they can manipulate themselves, then go with the reports that Confirmit mentions above. 

So, are you keying in to the data delivery needs of your customers, and how are you meeting those needs? Is what you’re providing enough, not enough, or too much/data overload? Make sure you’re asking those questions often and really listening.  

From my perspective, I’m always open to integrating new data delivery methods if they meet my clients’ needs better than what I’m currently using. I’m also completely fine with PowerPoint as long as it’s used well to tell a story.  
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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the “Voice of the Customer” inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

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