It’s The Journey, Not The Destination. ‘Shopper Insights’ and the Value of Holistic Research

August 31, 2010

One of the growth areas of market research in recent years has been in the area of “shopper insights”.  It’s an area I’m interested in and believe can claim some expertise in, but it’s also an area where I think we risk misleading clients by pretending the issues are unique to a certain group of consumers (in this case FMCG/CPG shoppers) or can be solved by focus on a certain aspect of the purchase process (e.g. “point of sale”). Shopper Insights as a focus area is indicative of  a  pressing issue in research, where clients have become dissatisfied with “generalised” research reports and seek ever more specific and granular information. This makes research that promises to reveal a “moment of truth” or “nano-second of purchase” very attractive.

Don't Get Lost In The Landscape

Lots to see in the valley, but at some stage you need to climb up and look around... (c) I .Gordon, 2009

Nothing wrong with more focus on key points like that, and it can certainly be helpful in producing actionable research.

But we should be aware that this is an artificial construction. The reality is that these “aha moments” for consumers are seldom as decisive and isolated from other influences as it appears on the surface.

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Continuous Revolution: Building Change Into the Culture of Market Research.

August 16, 2010

Most Market Research professionals like a bit of variety in their working lives. After all, it’s not the ideal career for people who favour predictability and routine.  David and I have enjoyed such variety in bucket-loads (click on the David & Alastair tab above if you’re interested) sometimes because we had no choice (I recall living through seven major changes of company ownership!) but also because at various critical points in our careers we  had the good fortune of having had bosses who were willing to take a few risks on us and invest time and effort in involving us in new areas.

Giving researchers new challenges and introducing them to new ideas, services and methods is a vital factor in developing our industry. It pays large dividends in producing researchers who are more flexible and creative in their approach, and less likely to get bored and change jobs.  There are many ways this could be tackled, but here are three ideas I think are worth pursuing.

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The Cost of Overlooking the Unknown

August 4, 2010

Lately, there’s been a lot of back and forth in the research blogs on the topic of ISO standards being introduced to the US. This has stoked the long-running debate on competency and certification in our industry, ostensibly to ensure that those using research are assured of a certain quality of service. It also leans to a yearning amongst researchers where we’d like our craft seen as a ‘proper’ profession taking its place with the lawyers, architects, accountants, and their ilk.

After all, no-one in their right mind would engage a professional who was not qualified under their particular society’s standards and requirements, irrespective of the fact that unqualified doctors, lawyers, and others are legally not allowed to practice anyway. Read On..>