What makes market researchers happy?

What makes market researchers happy?

What makes a market researcher happy? Why should you care what questions your client wants you to ask? Who is to blame for bad results and how can you ensure that your research meets both your standards and those of your client? The answer lies in your relationship and your ability to lead the client to the best possible questions…

What makes market researchers happy?

Smart clients who know exactly what they want and can compose the right kind of questions.

What makes market researchers even happier? High quality data, produced by great questions, that allows them to present clear insights to clients. 

That’s what market researchers told us. 

At InsightFlow, we talk about research a lot. Tools, data, analysis and best practice are regular topics of conversation. Then one of our founders, Graham Ruddick, asked a new question:

What makes market researchers happy?

It’s a good question for an industry that places a priority on client satisfaction. So we asked it. We posted the following in a number of market research focused LinkedIn groups:

We are currently in the process of building a platform to help make researchers more productive and their research more impactful. In the meantime I’d love to know what makes market researchers happy? Is it tools that make data wrangling and insight development more efficient? Is it working and collaborating with other great people? Is it having clients who ask the right questions, and understand and use the research insights you produce?

“I think it’s when your clients have a clear idea of what they want to know, and they trust you to get there the best possible way, with an understanding of all the caveats involved.”

Lisa Huffman – Senior Specialist, Data and Human Insights at ATB Financial

Smart clients equal better results

“I think happiness is found through our clients – when they ‘get it’, advocate for MR, and appreciate our efforts. All the hours of analysis are worth it when a client uncovers the golden nugget they were hoping for and lets their MR partner share in that success.”

Maria McWhorter, Exchanging ideas and providing insights on the Agronomic, Amenity, and Animal Health industries

This led us to ask a follow up question: Do you think there are things that the market research community can do to help develop the ‘get it’ moment in their clients? Doing the research for our development we have heard a number of research professionals say that one of the big leaps is helping their clients ask the right questions. I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts? – Graham Ruddick

“Completely agree…helping clients ask the right questions is very powerful. More content about this, specifically case studies, would be helpful.”

Maria McWhorter, Exchanging ideas and providing insights on the Agronomic, Amenity, and Animal Health industries

What can we conclude from this? Initially, that much more work needs to be done by market researchers and MR companies to educate clients and develop their questions more thoroughly in order to really get the best data.

“The phrase from a client or decision maker “I have never thought of it that way before, that’s really interesting, maybe we should…. because .”

Uncited, via Hypothes.is annotations from LI.

Are they asking the right questions?

Are MR companies too reliant on the client? Should they be more forceful in recommending an approach to research which they know the client might not like, but which can produce the most useful and pertinent data?

One respondent tackled the question and researcher/client relationship at length:

“• Promote the benefits of research (not just market research, but social research, management and stakeholder research as well)

o Reduces risk o Reduces guessing and making assumptions unsupported by evidence o Identifies opportunities and threats

o Facilitates strategic decision making and planning

o Focuses on actual needs and behaviours of target audiences, assisting in segmentation and positioning

• Focus on the insights produced, not the methodology to produce it (but without underplaying the skills or the special techniques used)

• Avoid spurious accuracy

• Involve the client, find out what they want to know – and why – before you start (but be prepared to challenge the brief) and ask ’em what they think when it’s presented – what does it mean for them and their organisation? (And the client isn’t necessarily just “marketing”)

• Avoid leading questions, but don’t necessarily avoid controversy

• Understand the level of detail required in the debrief (it may be necessary to provide up to 3 reports for different audiences in the same organisation. In some cases 6 slides is too many)

• In qualitative, involve the participants in the agenda –good closing questions include “What questions should I have asked you? What else would you like to tell me?

• Use interesting stimulus materials and go beyond obvious questioning… and listen and follow up … interrogate to get the answer behind the answer – which is often more interesting then the initial response

• Think of yourself as a combination of psychotherapist and journalist to get the story and what lies in between the lines… because that makes it really interesting for the researcher, the participant and of course, the client”

Adrian Rhodes, AR Consulting

While Adrian Rhodes went above and beyond the initial question, he does discuss ‘challenging the brief’ from clients, to ensure that key questions are asked in order to produce the best data. Perhaps there is a case to be argued that clients who better understand the methodology and tools are better placed to create the right questions?  

“I think it’s when your clients have a clear idea of what they want to know, and they trust you to get there the best possible way, with an understanding of all the caveats involved.”

Lisa Huffman – Senior Specialist, Data and Human Insights at ATB Financial

A happy market researcher, then, is reliant on their client and their understanding of the data and methodology used to produce killer insights.

So how does MR help clients ‘get it’? How do you lead your client to more fruitful questioning in order to produce better data? This is a subject we will return to…

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