Tag Archives: Market Research Leadership

Low level of social media connection and social media spirit for Germany’s MR industry

Recently Q ‘Agentur f??r Forschung and linkfluence released an inventory of the German market research network. You can access the interactive dataviz here (which is highly recommended).

What can we learn from the results?

Well, first of all we learn, that the internet network of market research in Germany not yet developed and divided into two parts.


First of all there are traditional market research players (left side) that exist on the internet mainly isolated and ‘for themselves’.

And then there’s the networked side of the industry (right side). Here you find blogs and social network presences of agencies or individuals who produce (also) market research related content (including my German blogs Olympiamilano and FOYER for dedicated market research).

The degree of linkage between the two sides is rather weak and limited to a few connection points. Although the market research industry as a whole picks up momentum in the social media world social media agencies and specialized player are very active and much stronger located in social media than “classic market research”.

In addition, you can see that the German market research blogosphere is relatively small and personal. While in other communities the content is mainly delivered by bloggers and they discourse on issues play a central role, the market research blogging scene is very ‘manageable’. You probably won’t find open discussion on market research topics currently in the market research web. It therefore can be considered rather a Web 1.0 experience than Web 2.0. The German market research web is not dominated by user generated content or active exchange, but mostly by news, press releases or articles.

One could assume that the German market researchers have moved to a presence in social networks like Twitter and Facebook. But this is not the case. Here, too, German market researchers are very cautious and reserved. There are only a few active presences and little more intense exchange. #mr-Buzz is limited to a few activists. Public discourse or even public controversies are rare.

Explanations are easily found:
1. Traditional understanding of “secret”: news from the fields of techniques, methods, products or results are ‘ from the inside perspective ‘ highly confidential information that cannot be made available to the public under any circumstances
2. As long as the fear of lifting industrial secrets is that large, the exchanged and visible information thus is superficial and unsatisfactory. Exchange doesn’t exist.
3. Open and honest opinions and provocative theses are only very seldom to be found in the German MR-network. One of the main reasons for this is the perceived fear of negative consequences caused by the employer. The dominant opinion that it is not appropriate as an employee of a reputable company or a reputable agency to set up a provocative thesis on the future of market research or even comment this. Finally, you have to stand behind your corporate philosophy
4. Another explanation for the fact that almost nobody actively participates in knowledge sharing across the web 2.0 lies in the fact that they don’t receive any instruction from the management level for this. There is rather the attitude “I can take without giving”.

So no wonder that awareness and interest from outside the industry for the subject of market research is sometimes low. This is quite a shame as that here is an opportunity missed to directly interact with clients and customers and to design the role of market research more active.

Social media, networking and market research be on the agenda in Orlando, Florida at The Market Research Event 2011 , hosted by IIRUSA. Looking forward to having interesting chats about this.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Inspring Action with Market Research


‘All of the great and inspiring leaders of the world all think, act, and communicate in the same way which is the exact opposite as everyone else. It’s called’ the ‘Golden Circle.” – Simon Sinek.
This is the ‘Golden Circle.’

We should be able to explain what it is that we do, and how we did it; those things are easy. Answering they why seems to be a bit more difficult. It’s this aspect, the why, however, is the most important aspect to getting your insights, your work, your vision accepted by those you are conducting the research for. And the why is not profit; that is a consequence of everything else.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

A great example of this is Apple as provided by Simon Sinek. Can you image Apple saying: ‘Here’s a computer. It’s beautiful and easy to use.’ Would you want to buy it? Maybe, but it’s not very inspiring, is it? These couple of sentences are working from the outside of the circle to inside. Instead, Apple works from insight the ‘Golden Circle’ to the outside. For example, they might say: ‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo; we believe in thinking differently. They way we challenge the status quo is by making our product beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers.’
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

What does this mean for market researchers?

To inspire action from our research we shouldn’t tell people, leaders, executives, what it is that they should do differently, or what the business could do differently. Instead, they should be inspired by our belief of what the research is telling us. We should find the story, infuse it with
our beliefs, and sell it with inspiration.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

We shouldn’t believe that we do research because it’s needed. We should be doing research because we believe it can make a positive difference for the end-users of our company’s products, services, or ideas. How we do that is with a variety of research techniques that are tailored to
specific needs and specific questions. This is market research.

Not what. Buy why.

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of a mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

Leading Research Against the Clock


To be a leader takes guts. Am I right? It takes having the know-how of maneuvering tricky situations, aligning people and teams, putting trust in people around you’and much more. To be a leader of market research is no different. What I think might be a little different on the client side where I reside, is managing the balance between business needs and expectations, while also managing accurate and strong research methods.

As we know, some of the most impactful and enlightening insights often come with more expensive, more rigorous, and more time-intensive methods. Some business needs command this depth of information, but I’ve found these business questions also need addressing and insights next week’or tomorrow.

To be a leader of market research means facing these business issues, but also fighting for a timeline more appropriate for (correctly) conducting the needed research. We can get answers now, the quick and dirty way, no problem. But, buying a little extra time to answer important questions that arise provides more confidence that the insights are accurate, representative, and meaningful – for the long run. It takes a leader to recognize the balance that needs to exist between gaining insights and gaining the right insights in the right way’ assuming quick and dirty crosstabs won’t work in this case. Even more, it takes a leader to voice concerns when an unfeasible timeline is proposed.

We can all be leaders if we focus on meaningful, actionable, and accurate research (but sometimes a little time helps). How do you strike the balance between business needs and research needs? (Feedback is welcome!)

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of a mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

Market Research Leadership at the end of the year 2011′

The year 2011 is drawing to a close. November and December are not only in Germany traditionally fully packed market research months. But there is the TMRE 11 in Orlando, Florida knocking on the door.
That’s exactly the right time to think about market research leadership. Almost exactly 2.5 years ago Boston Consulting Group has introduced the Consumer Insight Benchmarking. A study among clients an vendors of market research related services which a lot of interesting stuff.
One of the key findings at the time: market research often isn’t able to draw on its full potential, regardless of whether it is called Customer Insight Research or not ;-)
There are four stages of progress, which outlines the process of development of market research in their role of “orders from the internal divisions” to a source of competitive advantage”.
Level 1 is defined as “Traditional Market Research Funcion”. The focus here is on the tactical use of market research. Any qualitative and / or quantitative test scenarios fall into this group. Market research here is usually a demand from marketing, always with a specific requirement (eg product or campaign testing). Or, as a CEO is quoted in the study: “The sample-size police in the back room … Which research is focused on and is not valid rather than provide meaningful business advice.”
Level 2 is titled as “Business Contribution Team”. The role of market research goes further than in level 1, because here a greater level of cooperation between Market Research and (internal) client has been created. This often leads to a more strategic use of market research services. Recommendations that are strongly related to business processes are kind of output of market research at Level 2. Nevertheless, the insight department (just to use a synonym for market research) only acts if it is asked to support. Synchronization with other information from the past or from other sources does not take place here.
Stage 3 is called “Strategic Insight Organization” and the role of market research is more important than level 1 and 2. Market research is an integral part of critical business processes across marketing and sales and beyond of it. Market researchers are required as part of project teams, regardless of whether it is a market research project or not. Relevance for the divisions is caused by a close cooperation of market research with the relevant project managers. And knowledge of the sales force is growing little by little.
Stage 4 is in very many ways the supreme discipline, which can only work under certain conditions. It is called “Strategic Foresight Organization” and expands the processes from step 3 by a thinking that dissolves the boundaries of individual business units. This means that market research occupies a cross company position, which enables it to attend strategic decisions and support and steer them. This positioning includes extending the focus on ‘ besides the status quo – future trends and predictions.
In 2009 we learned that 90% of companies surveyed are located at Level 1 or Level 2. This matches perfectly what we experience here in Germany. So we try to achieve a constant “up-levelling” for market research leadeship.
The remaining companies are mainly found in stage 3 and only a few companies are on stage 4.
Also quite interesting is the different perception of the terms of the quality of output between those who produce it and those who buys. 73% of the “manufacturers” say that they answer all “so-what?-questions” with their results. If you ask the recipients of the results only 34% agree to this.
How does this look like today? Make sure to attend The Market Research Event 2011 in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA, to find out’

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Market Research Leadership – Where’s the beef?

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Recent research shows that market research is increasingly affected by a positioning problem.

For example the current Green Book Research Industry Trends Report mentions the fact that the proportion of those who describe the importance of market research as declining, has increased within six months by 20 percentage points.

Only every second expert assigns a rising or at least constant importance to market research. All in all it seems that perception of the relevance of market research suffers.

The reasons for this development are manifold. In addition to external factors such as the financial and economic crisis there are also some internal factors to be identified.

In general declining relevance is a consequence of lacking clear added values. That’s valid for brands as well as for companies, and this is also true for market research. On the one hand this can be explained by the constantly increasing number of competitors for market research. Boundaries towards other players such as consultancies, advertising or strategy agencies become fluid. On the other hand, fueled by the increasing importance of the internet, technological service providers play an increasingly important role.

One of the most striking examples for this is the rise of online research communities. Different to for example a representative CATI-survey an online community project is not naturally located in the area of market research competence. It often happens that the marketing itself, supported by IT and technology department / supplier, puts on such projects. Consequently classical market research role models and thought patterns are questioned.

Requirements concerning market research therefore are constantly changing. It becomes increasingly difficult for the industry to keep up with the pace of developments and to find the right positioning.

Someone who has accepted this challenge is IIR USA, the organizers of this year’s “The Market Research Event 2011″ in November in Orlando. This conference has it all, a first glance at the program (which you get only when you specify name and e-mail address) is sufficient piece of evidence for that.

From my point of view the combination of diverse and interesting topics makes the TMRE 2011 very attractive. Nine different tracks – from “Market Research & Leadership Insights” and “New Tools & Breakthrough Methodology” to “ROI & Measurement” show the full spectrum of recent challenges and how one can deal with these new approaches, innovations and ideas.

While promising “connecting to the best insights from around the world” the TMRE helps in positioning market research and to re-strength, win back or even expand relevance.

And this is something where we all can benefit and gain a lot.