The Fine Line between Passion and Pride

September 6, 2011

I spoke recently, on separate occasions, to a couple of colleagues now at major research buyers. Interestingly, both commented on what they saw as a ‘decline in passion’ from all but their most specialised (i.e. smaller or niche) suppliers.

Both felt that, as well as the harder times in the market economies generally bringing everyone down, the organisational changes arising from consolidation in the industry may also be playing a part in this emotional change. In particular, the increased prevalence of personnel policies, necessitated by organisational complexity, was thought to be a key factor. The structures imposed by such were driving the ‘star players’ upwards (to staff roles) or outwards at many of the larger companies in favour of safe but not necessarily inspiring performers. Read the rest of this entry »


Beyond The Sweet Talk: Time to Commit To Partnerships

February 24, 2010

Once market research agencies were simply “suppliers”: brought in when clients had a specific research need, often forgotten as soon as that need was fulfilled.

Yes, but will it last? (c) A.Gordon, 2008

But agencies (and even some clients) yearned for more than these fleeting and unsatisfying encounters. We wanted to encourage fidelity, and to demonstrate the virtues of long-term stable relationships. Nowadays we all talk “Partnerships”,  “Key Account” managers abound, and often elaborate client servicing structures have been developed. Yet, while we all understand the theoretical value of genuine partnerships, I’m not convinced that things have changed all that much or that many client-agency partnerships actually yield the value they should.

Here’s my take on three  big issues that  get often in the way:

Read On..>

Customer Satisfaction #1: A comment from the customer’s viewpoint.

January 20, 2010

Welcome to our first ever “guest post”. Our intention is, from time to time, to introduce a little variety into these posts by inviting occasional comment from our friends in the industry. First up, Alistair Watts. Many readers will know that Alistair has enjoyed a distinguished career in international market research having headed up at various times the Nielsen companies in Singapore, Vietnam and China as well as being regional head of Nielsen operations in Australasia and Japan. With remarkable prescience Alistair retired from market research just months before the “great recession” hit and now – in a complete  change of lifestyle – is running a farm in New Zealand. This doesn’t mean he has given up all concern with marketing and research issues however, as is apparent from his first post for Research.Opinionated.Insightful:

They Also Provide Leading Edge Customer Service

Our Customer Service systems are similarly leading edge....

It still amazes me to see how little value so many organisations place on customer retention.  Without even trying to find them, examples of plain bad customer care keep appearing.  I am sure the organisations  I’ll describe in this (and my follow-up) posts have some customer care strategies, want to retain current customers and (probably) conduct some kind of satisfaction survey but, apparently lacking any real understanding of how the customer may view their relationship with the service provider, they plough on regardless of any negative feedback or suggestions to the contrary. Read On… >

Avoiding Extinction – Reinventing the Survey.

November 8, 2009

If panels and data-bases are getting better at telling us the “whats” of the world, and improved qualitative and new nuero-science techniques are getting better at the “whys” (see my last post), then what’s left for the old-school ad hoc survey? Well obviously it can be argued that where representative samples are needed to establish incidence or opinion, well-designed surveys will always be pre-eminent. There is some truth in this, but perhaps not enough of such studies to maintain a global MR industry! The real future of the survey is in recognising and playing to three key strengths: Read On..>

Measuring the boring stuff.

August 10, 2009

For years it has seemed to me that market researchers (and our clients) have been a bit too obsessed with the “glamorous” kinds of research: TVC testing, ad campaign tracking, measuring the “emotive” and lifestyle aspects of marketing. All useful stuff of course, but it felt like MR and ad budgets were biased against researching more mundane aspects of how people routinely interact with products and services, or evaluating unexplored opportunities for different marketing approaches.
Read the rest of this entry »