Can Market Researchers Afford to be Perfectionists?
I’ve just been reading the 120th prediction for 2012 – and blow me down, it caught my attention.
“Corporate clients will turn to new faster alternatives that can provide them with 80% confidence in a fraction of the time.”
I’m in the middle of a Linked-In debate on whether we as researchers are neglecting our methodological rigor at our peril, and opening ourselves to attack from all angles – the good, the bad and the plain charlatan, all of whom have wares to sell.
The 80/ 20 mentality that Kevin touches on isn’t one that comes naturally to us Researchers. We have to go to the nth degree of detail if someone probes into the data – robust data is the bedrock of Insights.
Will this carry on? Here’s my take:
1. The folk who use our data – Marketing, Sales, General Managers – often work on an 80/20 basis. They need to make judgement calls, where not all the data is available. Complexity reduction is often a mantra – Behavioural Economics fans take note….;)
2. The pace of change is accelerating. By the time we have the “right” answer, the competition has moved, some distribution channels have shifted on their take on own labels, cost of goods has changed pricing perspectives…..And then we come with “the answer” – which took maybe 2 months.
3. Budgetary pressures will increase in a subdued economic environment. This will lead to Marketing exploring trade-offs more aggressively in the accuracy/ cost equation – as well as pushing for quicker stuff. DIY will continue.
4. The “how” will be increasingly elbowed aside by the “now what” in MR reporting. Without wishing to denigrate efforts to address engagement of response as an issue, Actionability for MR will become an increasing mandatory.
Budgets are invariably owned by Marketers and General Managers, ultimately. If we ignore their concerns – actionability, speed, cost, flexibility to name a few – we’re in danger of becoming methodologically obsessed, talking amongst ourselves, whilst the real game shifts elsewhere.
Curious, as ever, as to others’ views.