I’ve been working in branding and consumer insights now for over 20-years, and I’ve never seen such seismic changes as are taking place right now. It’s a demanding and challenging place to be. Why?
To start with, clients are under huge pressure to grow revenues, be more innovative and keep up with the pace of change in consumers’ worlds. They are being asked to do more for less, to be compliant with changing data legislation, and grow into new markets. In my role, I speak to clients and researchers every day. In the last year I’ve connected with literally hundreds, from business large and small, in the UK, US and all four corners of the globe, and I’m hearing a common story - clients want research that is just good enough to help them make a decision.
So I ask them what’s the backdrop, and what do they mean by ‘good enough’. Here’s what they say..
- The old world of market research doesn’t work any more (for most of them, most of the time). The old delivery methods, lead times, reporting styles etc just don’t work. Technology has shifted consumers landscapes, and those of clients. They need tools to gather, decipher, distribute and activate insight quicker than ever
- Keep it simple son (KISS). They are tired by researchers who try to over-engineer the process. If it can be done quicker, but with less specificity then they are open to it. If it can be done with a smaller sample, or one recruited from social media instead of panels, then they’ll try it.
- Insight alone isn’t the answer, strategy is. They want partners that can take what they’ve learned and tell them what to do with it. Insight without action has no value.
- Easy come, easy go. Clients have an abundance of data that they can work with, from many sources - transactional, observational etc. If you can’t work with that, they’ll find someone who can. Tech is providing them with answers, so your human interaction better add more value.
- Panels don’t do it any more. Many brands still have them, but only because they are a hangover from previous insight directors and research teams at a time when it was the best thing available to them to track changing attitudes. They realise they are costly to maintain, and don’t offer the value they once did since they have unprecedented data access that can give them answers much quicker.
Good enough research is quicker, lighter, more iterative, has greater impact on the wider organisation and can be delivered in more colourful and engaging ways. It’s about providing lean insight - only that required to answer the single most important question, not ten others. It’s not necessarily about being cheaper, though the options are available to do things differently, and often at less cost.
There is still good in good enough. In fact, good enough is great, because it gets the client from A to B, which is all they want, but it has the legacy of market research baked into it.
I’m all for changing the name to great enough, because it is just that. It’s exciting, fun, fast and fuelled with new challenges. It’s what we’re doing here at Dub - combining tech and humans, marrying rigour and innovation, coupling the young with the old.
We’re producing human insight at scale and speed never seen before, for big brands and small ones. For corporate citizens and moms and pops businesses.
If you’d like to find out how you can change gears and do research that’s great and good, email email@example.com