Not many career paths let you manage businesses at every level from small country to global; encompass pitching shopping research in Switzerland and working on social health campaigns in the Philippines, or stretch your brain on problems as diverse as the design of a new global Qualitative methodology or even a retail audit of Japanese nightclubs! Yet MR has given us all that and much more, and while we’d love to think we’re unique it seems that most senior MR people have good tales to tell. Despite popular mythology, MR is hardly ever dull, offers huge amounts of variety and can be a lot of fun.
Too often though, these pleasurable bits get submerged by stress, deadlines and hard work. Too many good people walk out on the industry mid-career. Some MR people seem to regard this as inevitable, sometimes revealing an almost puritanical attitude to the “downsides” of a MR career, believing that it’s impossible to a have the variety and interest of if you don’t endure the pain and burn-out. We don’t. We believe that it is possible to do research intelligently, provide clients with more value and have more fun doing it – without having to work 25 hours a day.
Paradoxically, getting pleasure out of doing Market Research requires better understanding of another two “P’s”: Profit and Productivity. Especially in a downturn these imperatives can be seen as antithetical to pleasure or interest – as boring targets to be chased purely for reasons of bonus or business survival. That’s a pity, because whenever we treat these things as secondary to our other activities we increase the chance that top management will start to ignore the advice of research professionals and resort to “quick fix” cost-cutting or simplistic system changes that cause more problems a year or two down the track. We don’t think it has to be this way – in the end delivering consistently good research is not just about writing a nice report: it involves working out processes that free researchers up to think seriously about client issues, and which simultaneously deliver profit levels that allow firms to employ sufficient researchers at salary levels that reflect the value of their outputs.
This ‘occasisional blog’ provides a series of articles on what we see as being the major trends in Market Research, how clients can get more value out of MR and how we think researchers can spend more time doing the “interesting stuff” while at the same time working more productively and profitably. We hope you find some ideas of interest, and feel inspired to comment. If you want to know more about us, click on the “David & Alastair” tab above, or check out our website (link on right of this page).