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An Angry MR Client Speaks

Angry_MR_Client recently emerged as a voice of humorous hard truths to research suppliers from the client side perspective. In this interview they delve more deeply into what they think is ailing the industry and what needs to be done about it.

 

A few weeks ago a mysterious new voice joined the #MRX Twitter community that has grabbed the attention of many and provided some very pointed (and often humorous) views on the state of research suppliers from  the client perspective. This anonymous agent provocateur calls themselves Angry_MR-Client  and although many are uncomfortable with their views and approach, based on my experience I suspect they are speaking for a great many clients. I reached out to them to see if they would consent to an interview and he/she they agreed.

Angry_MR_Client will also be a guest on Radio NewMR next week, so be sure to tune in next Monday to hear more wit, wisdom, and hard truths from this great new participant in the online discussion community; it’s sure to be fun!

We conducted this interview via “secure encrypted email” over the course of the last few days. I think you will enjoy this one very, very much.

 

LFM: Thanks for agreeing to talk with us! As background you recently came on the MR Twitter scene and have generated quite a bit of excitement with your brutally honest (and pretty darn funny!) critiques of the supplier side of the research industry. Judging from your bio (So fed up with all the MRX agencies that fail to embrace innovation, can’t connect the dots and most importantly, lack common sense!) it seems that, to borrow a slogan, you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. What made you decide to start this crusade?

AMRC: Thanks so much for the invitation Lenny! Before I answer your question, I need to make a confession: I hate flings! And lately, I’ve been having way too many of them. I’m always open to try out new agencies if I believe they offer something interesting and useful, but unless they wow me, I will move on to the next one. And that was the trigger to join the #MRX conversation on Twitter and have my frustrations heard. Now I know I’m not going to be able to change the market research industry, but big changes come from small steps. However, if based on this initiative, one person will do one thing differently, then I will be a @happy_MR_client. Oh, and there’s one more reason: it’s fun.

LFM: So it’s fair to say that when it comes to your supplier partnerships, you’re a serial monogamist (or polygamist, since I suppose you do have a roster of favorites)? What are the early warning signs that “it’s just not going to work out”?

AMRC: Never thought about it like that, but you’re spot on.

Talking about early warning signs, the flashing light and siren sign comes on when I hear the “we do everything” pitch. Unfortunately, no one can be good at everything, so I consider a missed chance of showing off the agency’s competitive advantage, a lack of one. I always appreciate agencies more if they are honest about what they can, but especially what they can’t do. Another early warning sign is a messy proposal. The proposal is an agency’s first shot at impressing me. It’s our first date. If the proposal does not address my brief in a clear and convincing way, then most likely, the project deliverable will miss the point as well. And then there’s the Copy/Paste Syndrome which is another big NO NO for me. I will never go for an agency that is trying to push a generic approach (emphasizing the methodology rather than its benefits), as it shows they don’t care about (or understand) the specifics of MY project. Oh and limp handshakes – they disgust me.

LFM: I’m guessing that your anonymity is important to you, so with that in mind what can you tell me about your background and current role? And as a follow-up, why the secrecy? Many client side researchers are active in social media and don’t seem the worse for wear, so why have you chosen to be anonymous?

AMRC: My background is white, haven’t you seen my profile picture? My current role is interviewee.

To answer your second question, I believe that with the rise of Twitter, everyone can now have a voice, this means there are lots of voices to compete with. Still, people will always be intrigued by stories, entertainment, and mystery. Add to that the irresistible possibility to find out clues on how  to win a client’s heart and you might get something quite tempting. I think that Angry_MR_Client has more potential (than my real name) to do that. I’m just trying to apply what I’m preaching. My anonymity hopefully adds to the mystery.   

LFM: You’ve posted several times about how disappointed you are with many suppliers: describe your ideal supplier for us. What qualities, capabilities, etc.. would they be made up of?  As a follow-up, what turns you off from most suppliers you encounter?

AMRC: I think the words that sum up my ideal agency would be “strategic partner”. Which means they understand my business and how their work contributes to my company’s growth. They go beyond their core role of “market research provider” and work together with me to really understand the areas to address that will have the biggest impact. They inspire, but also challenge me. Despite what the old adage says, I don’t think that the market research client is always right. I personally find it very refreshing to be proven wrong by an agency. It will take a lot of courage and good logic to do that though (I once threw a stapler at an agency CEO who said gamification is a waste of time).

Another characteristic of an ideal agency is that they have a multidisciplinary team whose capabilities go beyond market research, into fields like advertising, management consulting, and even a bit of theatre. It’s such a pity when great input from fieldwork does not come through in the final deliverable. And this is where skills like storytelling, copywriting, strategic thinking or acting come in very handy.

I also love working with agencies who are as passionate as me. Passionate to understand people and discover how to make a lasting difference to their lives. Passionate to challenge themselves and constantly evolve their methodologies. Passionate to care about the people who participate in research as much as they care about the client who pays for the project.

LFM: What drives you mad more than anything else?

AMRC: What drives me MAD (yes, it needs caps) is what I call “Taxi agencies”. They take you from A to B, without any interest in where you came from or what you will do  after you get there. Horror agencies charm me with their proposal, but then fail miserably to live up to their promises. They blindly follow what I ask, never contradict me and hide their lack of opinion behind “flexibility”. They deliver reports that I have to redo before I can share them further. Not to mention slides full of errors or presentations that lack clear conclusions or recommendations.

LFM: Who else makes you angry?

AMRC: Marketers who don’t participate in their focus groups or those who take numbers out of context. Oh, and these words: leverage, synergy, conceptualization and holistic.

LFM: Although I personally think your approach fills a much needed gap in the conversation (similar to the sorely missed MR Heretic on the supplier side), some folks have expressed concern that the “us vs. them” position is ultimately unhelpful and actually creates more barriers to developing a true culture of partnership in the industry. What’s your take?

AMRC: I definitely see the relationship between me and my agencies as a partnership. But the thing with partnerships is, they only work if both parties believe in the same approaches and work together towards a common goal: which in this case is growing my business (because if my business grows thanks to them, their business will grow as well). We’re in this together. The “us versus them” attitude appears only when the two “partners” don’t respect each other’s  roles and expertise, when they don’t complement, but overlap each other. This is never the case for me, because why would I pay someone to do what I could do better? So to sum up, my take is, some folks are wrong.

LFM: You’re obviously looking for innovative approaches as well as a more strategic consulting culture; what newer methods or approaches have you most excited and how are you allocating your budget in 2013 to explore them?

AMRC: I’m afraid I can’t answer this question. That’s because I don’t allocate my budget per methodology but per business question. I will get excited though, if at least a few proposals will include some online community, mobile research, or gamification ideas. The method is only a means to an end. And as much as I believe in the potential of these new techniques, they need to be used in the right way and in the right project, so they can prove their power to help us discover an insight we would otherwise miss.

LFM: How are the changes impacting the industry impacting your role? Are the things you are looking for being driven by changing needs within your organization?

AMRC: Lately there’s been a major push in my organization to do everything faster. Including consumer research. What we used to expect to take months, we now expect to take weeks. We’re therefore quite open to experiment with non-traditional new entrants in the industry, boutique agencies and DIY research. Whatever will get us better insights in a faster way.

LFM: Looking ahead 3 years; what is your take on what the industry will look like? Will you be working with more non-traditional players, smaller boutique firms, insourcing more, or…?

AMRC: I think we’ll see quite some successful attempts to make research more “natural”, more seamlessly integrated into people’s daily lives, research that feels less like research and dare I say, more like having fun. That means the rise of passive data collection, quantified self, various forms of gamification and creative ways of engaging with people.  

LFM: You know I have to try one more time to figure out who you are so I’ll put the ball in your court and we’ll do a virtual game of “Clue”; give us one hint?

AMRC: OK, here’s your clue. If I ever reveal who I am, some people will be very surprised.

LFM: OK, fair enough! Let the speculation begin… I don’t want to get on your hit list for taking too much of your time, so last question: if there was one thing you would like to communicate to the research industry that you consider to single most critical issue that needs to be addressed what would it be?

AMRC: The biggest opportunity for market research is to become the industry of choice for more top graduates. For that, we need to change its stereotype of a “boring” industry. How many of the top graduates mention market research as their #1 choice? We compete for talent with marketing, advertising, or management consulting, industries which have somehow managed to brand themselves as “cooler” than us. Market research is fascinating, interesting and magical. So why aren’t we showing off more? There are some great examples of initiatives that aim to change our industry’s dorky reputation, but we could do so much more to rebrand ourselves. With all the new methods, we’re now better positioned than ever to show off how cool of an industry we are. 

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34 Responses to “An Angry MR Client Speaks”

  1. Jason Anderson says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I just wanted to clarify for any speculators out there, @Angry_MR_Client is NOT me. Kindred spirit, perhaps.

  2. Himanshu Vashishtha says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Very interesting! Lets hope agencies take note and adapt before they become extinct.

  3. BRIAN JACOBS says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Tthis is interesting and mirrors what many clients said to us when the UK advertiser trade body, ISBA (equivalent to ANA in USA) commissioned us a couple of years ago to talk to their members regarding their views on the MR industry. It’s always struck me as odd that the research industry doesn’t find out for itself what clients think (something about cobblers children comes to mind!). One thing’s for sure: unless the industry starts to pay attention fast, stops the navel gazing and remembers what it’s there for, there will be far fewer agencies to attract those graduates.

  4. Tom H. C. Anderson says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    What’s “Secure Encrypted Email” mean?

  5. Leonard Murphy says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Well said @Brian and spot on @Himanshu. I talk to a lot of clients and nothing AMRC says is unique in general;. In fact, I would say it is the norm. It’s time we remember that for all of our talk of science and positioning as some special elite group that commercial research is just that: commercial. We must meet client needs or they will simply go elsewhere, and that is happening already at a far faster pace than we have recognized yet.

    @Tom I was just trying to be funny in keeping with the whole “mystery person” thing. It was just plain old Outlook.

  6. Tom H. C. Anderson says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    LOL, OK.

  7. Sue Homeyard says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Throwing staplers? Really? In this digital age I’m surprised people still have staplers.

  8. Andrew Pohlmann says:

    September 12th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Great interview – the comments could apply to lots of industries beyond MR as well as it relates to RFP responses, proposals and differentiation.

    My guess is that Angry_MR_Client is actually an agency with an agenda to help clients form their opinion on what they need from an agency and magically delivering on such promises. If he/she is an agency, sounds like a good one.

  9. Caspar Tearle says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Interesting, and probably all true. However, I wonder how many on the agency side would like to offer a counter-view from Angry_MR_Agent, pointing out some of the shortfalls of their clients…..oh hang on, that might cost us revenue. Guess that’ll never happen then.

  10. Umesh Jha says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Great piece. Come to think of it, it’s plain common sense that’s getting missed out often.

  11. June WestHolland says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I love this guy! (Do we know for sure it’s a guy and not a gal?) Thanks for the interview.
    Maybe we could go on an anonymous, virtual lunch date to exchange notes – I could certainly afford that!

    Keep it up – we’re listening.

  12. Nick Tortorello says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I have 3 questions for our Client-side guru. 1) Is he willing to spend the money and time necessry to have a strategic partner? 2) If the project/survey results are antithetical to his company’s viewpoint will he truly believe them and be willing to present those results to his senior manageement? and 3) Is he willing to give us enough work, or pay us enough, to hire “top graduates” from $75,000 to $125,000 to start?

  13. Erik Haroldson says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    What a fun and refreshing – and insightful interview! Thank you.
    It is a great reminder that at the end of the day, Clients are trying to grow their business…plain and simple. MR is merely a means to inform the key business decisions that will drive growth. When we keep that front and center, we have a much greater chance of getting it right. And it is a heck of a lot more fun as well!

  14. Angry MR Client says:

    September 13th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. Glad to hear some of my points resonated with you.

    @Caspar Tearle – I’ll have to disagree with you on this one. I rely quite a lot on my strategic partners to sharpen my thinking and develop my skills. Good, logical arguments should be recognized as such. They just prove the agency’s added value.

    @ June WestHolland – Well, you’ll have to tune in on Monday on Radio New MR (http://newmr.org/newmr-radio/ ) to find out.

    @ Nick Tortorello – 1) Definitely! I’d rather spend more time and money investing in a strategic partner than wasting it on “babysitting” a bad agency. 2) As long as the results are interpreted correctly, of course. We’d much rather know an idea does not have potential early on in the innovation process, than 1-2 years later when the product is already in the market. 3) Yes, for the same reasons I mentioned in my first answer. But the added value has to be clear.

    @ Erik Haroldson – Spot on! A little bit more pragmatism would not hurt.

  15. Alison White says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I love this interview as it backs up what everyone else in the industry has been saying to me for years. My plight has been to “sex up” our industry and give it the image it so deserves. My initiative with The Research Mafia is heading in the direction of bringing our industries outward perception in line with the “cooler” ones… Look out for Research Week that we are launching in the spring, a festival of all that is great in research. Here at Face Facts we have also just launched a research graduation school to train grads and help them seek employment in the industry. We’re working closely with universities social science courses to educate them on the amazing careers and opportunities our industry holds. As a young female in the industry I have a desire to make it my home for the rest of my career, for this I must play my part to make it strive and grow. Truely exciting times!

  16. Adedamola Sadare says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 2:43 am

    AMRC… I could kiss your forehead…. For all your statements.

    TugBox Ltd…. Coming soon

  17. Nasir says:

    September 18th, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I wish all clients were as angry as the Angry_MR_Client for all the reasons why s/he/they are angry. During my 30 years in MR, I have made many clients angry, even lost some business, just because I believed in, practiced and preached most of the things mentioned by Angry_MR_Client, and because I always put research first, and I always simply defined research as understanding fellow human beings. Most importantly, after all the ‘mishaps’, I still believe that MR can be successful only if research users and providers mutually treated each other as partners. I even coined our company’s operating principle (to no avail) “Once a client, Partner forever” (by the way, don’t take this statement superficially!). Alas, it’s always been a buyer/vendor relationship (how can I search and search – research – for a solution, if I am not made fully aware of the problem? ‘Confidentiality concerns’, or ‘don’t want to bias the researcher’… all b****t! How can I help a business, if the concerned executives just want to make their seniors happy by confirming that the bosses were right, through some “good consumer feedback and ‘insights'”?. Most clients don’t like arguments against their TOR/RFP (I believe, they think “you don’t tell me what I need…Just tell me if you can do it yesterday and at the lowest possible cost”). They hate negatives research findings (I even tried this approach- “listen, research basically accepts or rejects a hypothesis, or comes up with a new one that none of us had thought about” – the result? Hmmm…’I wanted to hear what I thought was right, so your research has been worthless’ – They don’t say so but you know!). At times, I would say “you really don’t need this study, because…” The reaction? “Why don’t you say you are not interested or can’t do it?” My story of an Angry_MR_Provider (lol) is too long and boring. So, I am happy to have finally heard of an Angry_MR_Client in true sense… After 30 years!

  18. Judy Melanson says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Lenny – enjoyed the interview and agree with many of the comments. The pressure put upon us to deliver faster and cheaper does not lead to better research. I also think it’s hard (maybe impossible) to be ‘partners’ when one party holds all the cards.

    Mgmt consulting firms manage to charge 5-10x our “consultative research’ fees – for similar projects – by selling in at the CEO/CMO level. To what extent should angry mr clients look in the mirror and blame themselves?

    One last point – You’ve demonstrated an important ‘human interest’ lesson for us: the value of a story and the appeal of mystery. Instead of presenting research results – how well are we ‘telling stories’?

    Thx for the conversation!

  19. Julie Mastroserio says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Wow, AMRC, you GO (girl or guy)–you hit on my biggest pet peeve, which is the “I can take your business question, and make it fit into my methodology….Wait. Be right back with a shoehorn….uhhhh. There! It fits! Right?” Yeah right. Not so much. Work with me, listen to me, challenge me, and I’ll give you the information you need to partner with me, so that we both look like heroes at the end of they day; AND most important, you’ve helped me drive my business, and I’ve helped you drive yours. Hmmm, much better than a shoehorn, wouldn’t you say?

  20. David Dines says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Thanks! It is about time that we had this type of dialog.

  21. Michael Wolfe says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 10:41 am

    There is much to criticize about the MR business and most of the points Angry Client mentions are not new news. Points taken. However, I will say something that is often said over beers but seldom mentioned in public forums. If you look at the jobs of many “client side” MR people, it can be summed up in two words: project managers and professional meeting attenders. They spend much of their time going from meeting to meeting and their job consists of writing briefs, sending out RFPs or bids and coordinating deadlines, a project management function for sure. I have known a number of folks on client side who have never done any of the work or MR. If the two sides of the table would simply take the time to walk in the others shoes, some of these issues will not be issues at all.

  22. Vickie Cole says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Just in case there is any confusion about client-side life…all the issues AMRC brings up as expectations she/he has for suppliers are expectations of her/him from the internal clients. On the client side, the internal clients are constantly challenging their MR professional to “prove” the validity of the information, to provide the “so what” analysis, to challenge them with well-thought out arguments, and to be *their* internal strategic partner. Please don’t think AMRC is just a demanding diva who “doesn’t get it”. Trust me. I was on the client side for a long time and I “got it” frequently 🙂

  23. tony cosentino says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Continues to feel as if the focus is on data collection, not data integration or analysis. ..with big data the elephant in the room,, pun intended, feels like race to the bottom. …anyone see harris plus google announcement. Unfortunately, not much mystery ,read margin, left in traditional mr….btw, great discussion Lenny. Look frwrd to seeing more.

  24. Jeffrey Adler says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    “Talking about early warning signs, the flashing light and siren sign comes on when I hear the “we do everything” pitch. Unfortunately, no one can be good at everything, so I consider a missed chance of showing off the agency’s competitive advantage, a lack of one. I always appreciate agencies more if they are honest about what they can, but especially what they can’t do.”

    “I will never go for an agency that is trying to push a generic approach (emphasizing the methodology rather than its benefits), as it shows they don’t care about (or understand) the specifics of MY project.”

    I have worked both client side and vendor side, which has provided me with some insights AMRC may have missed. For the record, I agree with many of AMRC’s points. However, regarding the two items above, I believe AMRC may be failing to recognize he/she is unintentionally motivating agencies to behave in some of the manners that make him/her angry.

    I currently work on the vendor side. I find my firm gets “punished” in a way because client/prospect has endured a few bad experiences in the past. The conversation needs to begin with the current gap in client needs. The client/prospect is afraid to share that – out of fear the vendor will claim expertise in whatever the client/prospect says. I have encountered this frequently.

    I do not know how many vendors engage in this behavior, but whatever the number is – it is too high. To the vendors engaging in this behavior, I say this, “Stop it. This will not help you. It will backfire on you for certain. Do you really think the client/prospect is not going to figure you out? Furthermore, it hurts the whole industry because it causes clients/prospects to behave in a suboptimal fashion.”

    Now that I have admonished those vendors, I must also admonish the clients/prospects. To them I say, “You are attempting to mitigate the wrong risk. Most vendors do not behave in this fashion. It is costly for vendors to write proposals. Vendors do not want to devote effort to proposals they cannot win, and they do not want to win projects they cannot execute! If you treat all initial conversations with the assumption the vendor is a Tin Man (per Wikipedia, from the 1987 film, door-to-door aluminum-siding salesmen prepared to do almost anything — legal or illegal — to close a sale), you guarantee you will miss out on meaningful interchanges which could turn out to be important for you and your company. That is a much bigger risk than failing to screen out a Tin Man at an earlier stage. Furthermore, the Tin Man is easy to screen out at the proposal stage. There is no rule requiring you to read an entire proposal (at least there should not be!). If you begin reading and quickly conclude the vendor has missed the mark, you can stop reading. If the proposal is good, but you still question the vendor’s ability to perform – you should check references (which you should really do anyway).”

    Now that I have established why clients/prospects are safe to begin the conversation with a discussion about the current gap in client needs, let me tell you why that is so crucial. AMRC indicates no one can be good at everything. While that is unquestionably true, here is what I suspect AMRC overlooks – WIMRV’s (well intentioned market research vendor) company has been in business a long time, and does a LOT of things well. Not everything, but a lot of things. To have a conversation about all of the things they do well would require more time than would make sense for either AMRC or WIMRV. If AMRC asks WIMRV, “What do you do well?” before discussing the gap in their current needs, it forces WIMRV to roll the dice – which benefits neither AMRC nor WIMRV. Unless the client/prospect is doing marketing research for the very first time, the odds are high that the gap of unmet needs covers a much smaller number of topics than the number of topics WIMRV does well!

    Now, guess what happens if AMRC forces WIMRV to roll the dice: WIMRV gets forced to push some generic approach!

    In fairness to the context I believe AMRC intended – I do not refer to a stage where there has already been meaningful interaction, AMRC has asked for a proposal, and a vendor has submitted a generic approach, and failed to demonstrate an understanding of AMRC’s project. AMRC is rightfully angry when that occurs. I refer to the more preliminary stage where AMRC is initially screening to choose which vendors are invited to submit proposals.

    Incidentally, I like AMRC anonymous. If he/she had been identified, I would have been hesitant to challenge so strongly. I am not challenging whoever AMRC is, but rather what I perceive them to represent – and I believe they are in many ways representative.

  25. Horst Feldhaeuser says:

    September 19th, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Great interview and great discussions. Coming from the vendor side, I do appreciate AMRC’s feedback and this certainly goes in line with what we’ve seen at several recent MR conferences. It’s our job to help the client’s business with smarter and ‘the right’ solutions – one size does not fit all. If a solution makes sense – use it. If not – find another.

  26. QualMod says:

    September 20th, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Wow. I think that your Twitter handle should actually be UMRC (Uniformed Market Research Client). I hate to be the party-pooper here, but I will. Based AMRC’s comments (see specific below), it appears to me that AMRC does not really understand what a market researcher or research agency truly IS or their role in the consumer feedback process. You obviously have not worked with a truly talented Researcher. It sounds to me that you are looking for a ‘Dog and Pony Show’ with groovy, new “methodologies” just for the sake of what you perceive as being “innovative” and perhaps to impress your boss? Sometimes, more “traditional” methods are exactly what you need to answer your research questions (I get the sense that you are probably one of those who think “focus groups are bad” based on a book that you read in an advanced “marketing” class – instead of viewing them as another tool in the tool box?).

    Anyway, a true Researcher is ideally an INDEPENDENT, third-party researcher/agency, not a “designer, copy-writer, management consultant” – or anything else for that matter. The researcher ideally bases their recommendations and analysis solely on the consumer/user feedback. The moment one begins to “assume” and make recommendations that are not directly related to the feedback you are NOT a researcher, you are a “copy writer, or advertiser, etc… and often biased and have an agenda that does not make you a true “market researcher.” Hire a copy editor or ad agency or management consultant to review the research analysis conducted by the researcher, but DON’T make it part of the researcher’s, or the research agency’s role. I wish AMRC would understand that the true value of a market researcher is that they are independent, and not beholden to other “experts” agendas. I think it is a PITY that this person does not take a moment to educate themselves about the true value of unbiased, third-party market research. Also, they have totally devalued all of the highly experienced freelance market researchers that are at the top of their field who don’t work at “agencies.”

    Also, why does it make this person “angry” that the researcher is NOT on a multidisciplinary team? They initially stated that they see “early warning signs, the flashing light and siren sign comes on when I hear the “we do everything” pitch.” But then ask for an agency that DOES “do it all.” I hate to tell you AMRC, that if you actually do want experts focused on the field of market research, they best off hiring experts who focus solely on their area of expertise – Research! If you want a company that is a “jack of all trades” you will never find a good Market Researcher. I can guarantee it. No wonder you are bitching on Twitter.

    Lastly, I am a ”top of my field researcher” that has been at the cutting edge of research innovation 20 years and have many clients who “get it.” When I see comments like AMRC’s I understand they are probably wet behind the ears, and need hand holding and education about market research in general. I find it sad that Greenbook is perpetuating and encouraging this attitude.

    (Here is AMRC’s Comment referenced above that makes ME Angry: “Another characteristic of an ideal agency is that they have a multidisciplinary team whose capabilities go beyond market research, into fields like advertising, management consulting, and even a bit of theatre. It’s such a pity when great input from fieldwork does not come through in the final deliverable. And this is where skills like storytelling, copywriting, strategic thinking or acting come in very handy.”)

  27. Leonard Murphy says:

    September 20th, 2012 at 8:20 am

    @QualMod, I debated approving your comment due to the tone, but decided to let it ride in the spirit of open debate. I do ask that you maintain a more respectful tone in the future; you’re bordering on insulting when what I think you were trying to achieve was simply snide cynicism. As far as I am concerned every visitor to this blog is a guest in my virtual home, and I won’t have any guest being downright rude to another. Please be more civil in the future.

    All that said, I think you make some good points about the role of experts and traditional approaches, but are missing the argument here that perhaps in order to be successful and competitive in the long run MR firms needs to function more like strategy consultancies and less like widget salespeople.

    I can tell you that I spend an awful lot of time talking and working with client side organizations, usually very senior folks, and the views of AMRC appear to be the norm, not the exception. GreenBook is “perpetuating & encouraging this attitude” because it is indicative of what many (not all) clients are experiencing and since our goal is to support the MR industry, specifically the supplier side, it is incumbent on us to help suppliers hear these messages so they can respond and adapt to a changing marketplace.

    I understand that change is uncomfortable, but as the CMO of Coke said to our industry last year: “If you dislike change, you’ll like irrelevance a whole lot less.”. My fear is that researchers that share your attitude and antipathy are going to wind up very far indeed on the wrong end of that spectrum.

  28. Angry MR Client says:

    September 20th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you all for joining the conversation.

    @Alison White – Great to hear about your initiatives aimed to attract fresh talent into our industry! Truly exciting times indeed!

    @Nasir – It’s a pity when that happens. I’m lucky enough to work in a company in which consumer research is used as a decision tool rather than a pleasing people tool.

    @Michael Wolfe – I like your idea of putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes. But it goes for agencies too. I would add to your point that we should even do a marketer’s job for a while.

    @ Vickie Cole – Good point. I can definitely confirm all those expectations you mentioned.

    @Jeffrey Adler – Thank you for sharing your opinion, definitely adds constructive and interesting perspective to this discussion.

  29. Angry_MR_Client - the only #mrx person you need to follow on Twitter - Ansr.io says:

    September 21st, 2012 at 11:48 am

    […] mark. Only 9 days after her first tweet GreenBook was on the case and interviewed her here: “An Angry MR Client Speaks“. What drives me MAD (yes, it needs caps) is what I call “Taxi agencies”. They take you […]

  30. Leonard Murphy says:

    September 21st, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Think AMRC is alone? Read the Cambiar Future of Research report and you’ll see she is part of the majority: http://www.consultcambiar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/CambiarFutureofResearchReport_2011.pdf

  31. David Rabjohns, CEO, MotiveQuest says:

    September 23rd, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I love you Angry. Dinner sometime 🙂

  32. A History of Anonymous Market Research Twitter Addresses - Research Access says:

    September 7th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    […] A mere 9 days later, @Angry_MR_Client had an exclusive interview with Lenny Murphy at GreenBook Blog. […]

  33. Who is Angry Market Research Client? | Facegroup says:

    October 21st, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    […] In September 2012 the market research Twittersphere gained a stand-out new voice. Amid a mostly agency crowd, that rarest of beasts – a client! And not only that, but a client with a message: you should be doing this better. With her provocative and all-too-accurate analysis of research’s weaknesses, @Angry_MR_Client quickly gained 1500 Twitter followers and the attention of industry influencers – not to mention a column in GreenBook. […]

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