The Frustration Of Market Researchers: Lack Of Action

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

Recently I did some interviews with consumer market researchers to better understand what’s on their minds. One of the issues that kept coming up in the conversations was around the lack of influence on the follow-up on research results. One person summed it up quite nicely: “We’ve done this great project, got valuable insights, delivered the results, discussed conclusions and possible actions, got lots of praise and then … nothing happens”. It was the biggest frustration across all researchers I've talked to: how can you make people act upon the research results?

For my report serie 'The Marketing of Market Research' I discussed this specific issue with a number of market researchers and heard some interesting strategies, both bottom-up or top-down (which I elaborate on in the report). However, one approach really stood out. One market researcher I spoke with wanted to elevate market research internally, but he realized this would only happen when the department made a significant contribution to the company, both with insights and value ($$). His solution was to take ownership of the agreed action items. So, when the research team delivers the results to the internal client and discuss and agree on follow-up actions, he appoints someone in the research team who owns the agreed actions. This person is goaled on follow-up, timeline, and implementation. Challenging? Yes. Problematic? Sometimes. But it also is rewarding. This market researcher shared: "The team feels more empowered, the follow-up on projects has increased significantly, and research is more embedded in the organization".

I realize this is quite a change to the common structure and objectives of research departments. I’d love to know: would this work in your case? Or did you find another way to get research results implemented?

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