Tag Archives: Consultative Skill Development

Back to Basics

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

As we prepare to head off to TMRE in a few short weeks, I know we’re all thinking about the latest in research strategy and innovation that we’ll learn about while on site in Boca Raton, as well as taking advantage of the myriad of networking opportunities!

But let me take this moment to bring us back down to earth for a moment and share a cautionary tale about remembering the research basics.

I spoke with an industry peer recently who is graciously allowing me to share his story. For the sake of this blog, let’s call him Todd (not his real name!).

Over the past year, Todd and his team have been following the mobile research trend and were excited to get approval to pilot a mobile research strategy at one of their one-day events. They had done extensive research to understand how active their audience was on mobile, especially tablets.

Todd and his team were very thorough in setting up tablet optimized session surveys to be available for launch at the end of each session time, as well as some other short surveys and activities meant for tablet use.

Sounds great, right?

However, from the keynote kickoff in the morning to the lunchtime round table discussions, Todd’s team saw lots of note taking…on paper! Pens and pads of paper were the rule of the day. After observing this in multiple sessions, Todd did some intercepts to find out where they went wrong with their tablet research.

Come to find out their tablet research was spot-on: pretty much everyone Todd stopped brought an iPad or other tablet device, but had left them in the hotel rooms due to sky-high WiFi rates that by that point were non-negotiable with the conference center/hotel.

The lesson we can all learn from Todd’s story? Be sure you cover the basics, especially around logistics, when launching a new research venture. The epilogue? Todd and his team did some quick thinking and were able to field some paper surveys for the afternoon sessions.

For more learning from your peers, be sure to catch some of the interactive discussion sessions at TMRE with Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Bloomberg News, and more.
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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

Behind the Scenes

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

Visionary

Disruptor

Innovator

Industry Leader

I was talking to a junior colleague recently, who noted that folks with titles such as the above (bestowed on them by industry peers) are the ones who “get all the visibility” and typically get the funds to travel to conferences, speak at industry events, etc.

We praise the innovators, the disruptors, the folks who raise the thought level of the industry, and we absolutely should – precisely because they bring the game to the next level.

But in this post, I want to ensure we’re also praising the project managers, the data analysts, and the strategists who often provide real structure for the business and projects and their work often allows the industry leaders to shine, and the visionaries to have enough time to create their visions. We can have all the disruptive thinking and lofty goals in the world, but without the project planning, the task management, etc., it doesn’t get done.

Many of you reading this are leaders in your organizations: C-level executives, VPs, Directors and Managers. We all think heavily, deeply, and loftily about how to move our companies and our business forward. Please take a moment today to thank the project managers, strategists, programmers, PowerPoint designers, traffic managers, and others in your organization for keeping things running smoothly. And if you feel an imbalance on your team (perhaps too heavy in the visionary department and not enough execution?) consider adding those skill sets to your team, or add training for your existing staff.

Consider also bringing some of these folks to TMRE with you, to hone their skill sets in tracks such as “Consultative Skill Development” and “The New MR Toolkit.”

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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

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 D??ssel (@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!

Research Rocks!

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

When I have the chance to chat one-on-one with market research colleagues I consistently hear that we really really love our work, even when it’s crazy, 19 reports are due, and the client just doesn’t grasp the insights yet. 

If you check the #mrx Twitter feed during market research conference season (watch for my tweets from TMRE!), you’ll see an excited buzz about what everyone’s learning and how they can apply that back at home base…it’s clear that we’re an industry that loves what we do.

So how is it that so many of us ‘fell into research’? Why is it that folks outside of research still turn up their noses and relate market research only to dinnertime phone calls and mall intercept staff with clipboards. Yet, when I explain the various aspects of research and provide examples of what researchers do, people really perk up!

I work a lot with college students (I’m a alumnae recruiter as well as a market research mentor to college students). I get the same initial reaction from students, but widening eyes when I talk about the different methodologies of research market, how research influences products, advertising, politics, and what the next wave of research might be (gamification? neuromarketing?).

Every single one of them says “That’s not what I thought at all!”  If anything, they have an inkling about market research, but no solid examples about what possible jobs are out there, what a career in market research entails, and how fun that can be. Once we’ve had that initial conversation, they get really excited and want to jump into jobs and internships with both feet. And thanks to some fabulous research companies (thank you Vision Critical and 360 Market Reach!) several of the students that I mentor are starting their careers in research.

Now is this the case for all students – a vague idea of market research at best? No, definitely not, there are some amazing candidates coming out of market research-specific programs at fabulous intitutions such as the University of Georgia. But I get the sense that for the majority of folks, research is definitely under the radar.

Dana Stanley wrote a great blog post about this last year and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Dana’s right, we’re not doing a great job of marketing ourselves, and our industry. Is it because we’re so inherently curious about how others think/purchase/shop/etc., we neglect to shine the spotlight on ourselves to promote the industry?

So here is my call to action for you, let’s be better marketers of market research for the next generation. How?

  • -Talk to your alma mater and offer to be a mentor to students interested in research
  • -Open your office to summer interns to give them a taste of what research is all about
  • -Speak at a local college or university’s career development office, or at a related class (such as anthropology, statistics, etc.)

Let’s make research a career the younger generation aspires to!
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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

Immerse Yourself

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

Immerse Yourself

We’ve all been through the drill:

  • ‘ Draft the survey
  • ‘ Field the study
  • ‘ Gather data
  • ‘ Write the report
  • ‘ Present the data

The client leaves the meeting with the report/data sheets/PowerPoint slides’and we hope the findings inspire them to take action.

More than anything, as researchers we want the work we’re doing to be actionable! But it’s up to us to help tell the story, to help our clients interpret the data, and really make our end customers come alive through the data. To that end, an alternative to the scenario I outlined above has been on my mind recently: immersion experiences.

I’m not speaking of immersion in terms of doing the doing the (ethnographic, qualitative) research but about presenting the research to clients.

So, how to use an immersion experience to present data in such a way that really engages the client, helps them digest the data well, and inspire them to want to take action on it?

One example that has influenced me was a session I attended last year at TMRE by Heiko Sch??fer, Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights at Henkel Consumer Goods (now Senior Director, Global Customer Insights & Analytics at Walmart).

In his presentation, Bringing the Consumer, Shopper and Customer to Life, Sch??fer provided a fascinating case study of an immersion session he produced. The immersion experience was set in the company cafeteria (a place that his internal clients couldn’t avoid!), and contained a set of interactive (and insightful) games. From the feedback he received and documented, the immersion session looked like it was a great success in getting his clients to really react to customer data, feedback, and experiences.

During that TMRE last year session, Sch??fer shared something that really resonated with me as it pertains to creating immersion experiences: ‘We’ve become journalists, storytellers, videographers, entertainers’it’s important to bring in the voice of the customer every day.’

Some other immersion experience ideas I’ve been hearing about and kicking around include:

  • ‘ An ‘immersion room’ at corporate headquarters with the walls lined with customer data, stories, and feedback presented in a visually impactful way. After an initial introduction and mini-presentation, clients can walk through at their leisure’especially when they need inspiration!
  • ‘ An engaging video presentation that brings customer data to life via visuals and storytelling.
  • ‘ An experience designed in a virtual reality space that allows clients to ‘walk through’ a customer daily routine, pain points about a product, or experience at an event, for example.

What else, what am I missing? What other creative and interesting ways of immersing clients in the data can you think of? I’d love to hear your stories.

Inspired to learn more? (I am!) Here are a few of the sessions I’m considering attending at TMRE this year that focus on immersing clients in the research findings:

  1. 1. The Art of Storytelling: Getting Traction and Action, given by Sara Bergson of PepsiCo
  2. 2. Bringing Research to Life through Collaborative, Engaging and Inspiring Work Sessions, given by Maisha Cobb of Logitech and Jason Kramer of Vital Findings
  3. 3. Using Data and Insights for Storytelling by Jeremy Murrell of Brown-Forman
For more on these sessions, download the TMRE brochure.
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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications.  She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.  If you’re interested in joining Katie at TMRE 2012, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

How to win my business (a memo from your client)

Today’s post is contributed by TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. You can follow her on Twitter @InsightsGal.

Hello! I’m your client.

In fact, I’m a client of several of you who are reading this blog.
And I’ve received phone calls, touch bases, sales pitches, and reach outs from many of you.

I’m one of many client-side researchers active in social media, blogging, and attending market research conferences. I’m privileged to be one of the official bloggers for The Market Research Event this year (thanks IIR !), the event that has more client-side participants than any other market research event.

Consider my blog entries the voice of your client, and feel to ask questions – let’s make this interactive!

So for my inaugural TMRE blog post, let’s discuss some basic tactics for how you suppliers out there can win my business, and the business of my client-side peers…or at least get a foot in the door.

1) Do your research
This is simple, but it bears repeating!
Yes folks, we’re in the research business, so you would think it would go without saying that you should read up on a client before you pick up the phone. In our industry more than most that should be an ingrained trait.

But for at least 50% of the sales calls I receive, it’s clear that the caller doesn’t know the industries our company serves (hint: the info is on the website) and don’t know that I work in B2B (hint: also on the website). So much information is on company websites, LinkedIn, and other social media that not doing your research isn’t an excuse.

It’s disheartening to get 5-10 minutes into a call only to hear a supplier say – “Oh, I didn’t realize…sorry, we can’t help you.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we (the clients) don’t want sales calls – we do! We want to hear what you can offer, but let’s jump right into how you can best help us – and we can do that if you’ve done your research.

2) Be a team member, not just a product
Since many of us work in small research departments within a wider organization, we’re often stretched for resources. When pitching to us, focus on how you and your organization can become part of our team, not just another piece of technology for us to manage.

Invest in customer care training, from your front line tech support to your account executives, it’s that important! Customer care, and being focused on the customer experience, can be the tipping point during a sale, especially if your technology is not unique in the marketplace. More than once that has been the deciding factor to go with one vendor versus another, and I’m not alone!
(For some great customer experience stories and excellent coaching, see Annette Gleneicki’s CX Journey blog.)

3) Social Media: We’re out there, and we’re watching you
I wholeheartedly suggest that you do become active on social media if you are not already.

You may query whether client-side researchers are on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., and the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Some suppliers/agencies have felt there is a lack of social media presence among client-side researchers, but what you need to understand is that we are on social media primarily to monitor the chatter in our specific industries, which is often necessary to do our jobs. But don’t discount the fact that we are out there, and likely we are watching YOU. Just as we ask for you to do your research when pitching to us, we do our research in looking at your presence on social media to help us determine whether we would like to enter into a business relationship with you. So, if you want to win our business, ensure that your social media presence is solid.

In closing, as a client-side researcher I want you suppliers and agencies to remember, we DO want to work with you and we want that relationship to be successful.

I look forward to hearing from many of you via the blog, and look forward to seeing most of you at The Market Research Event in November!

The Market Research Event will take place November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida.  For more information on this year’s program, download the brochure.  If you register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG, as a reader of this blog, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!