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New Research Trends: Part 1

A Round-Up of the 2014 GRIT Report, PART 1

grit-cover-shadow The Green Book Guide for Buyers of Marketing Research publishes an annual report based on a survey of research clients and suppliers. The report, known as the GRIT (Greenbook Research Industry Trends) Report, draws on input from over 3000 research professionals, including those from Canada’s Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, to provide an overview of current research industry trends. While the majority of the report pertains to industry activity in the U.S., many of the trends apply to the Canadian industry as well. Here is a synopsis some sections of the 2014 GRIT report, used as a launch pad for my own observations.

How Are Clients Selecting Their Research Suppliers?

No big surprises here. Most supplier selection is based on prior relationship. Ergo, an important task of a research supplier is to get to know the client and their business needs well; and to earn clients’ appreciation and loyalty by following gold standards of methodological and analytical quality, and by not only delivering but possibly over-delivering on commitments.

Clients say they are also looking for:

  • Knowledgeable research staff
  • Good communications skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Consistency in meeting timelines
  • Rapid responsiveness.

Again, it is no surprise that clients are not looking for ill-informed, unresponsive suppliers who deliver poor quality research. These selection criteria are, essentially, table stakes — minimum requirements for playing in the marketing research sandbox. And, did anyone notice that “price” didn’t make the survey list? This factor is apparently so important that it goes without saying!

It’s About The Steak, Not The Sizzle

It's the Steak, Not the SizzleIt’s worth reiterating that clients’ basic requirement is research QUALITY. Discussion about new trends and, especially, cutting edge technologies tends to work some of us into a frenzy of digital glee. This may be at least in part because typical, solid marketing research isn’t always much “fun.” The quality that clients base key business decisions on is rooted in expertise and rigor — we need the ‘steak’ to do the best quality job; the ‘sizzle’ remains sizzle unless there’s true methodological justification to play with a new MR toy.

The GRIT report bears this view out: most clients ask for demonstrated evidence of the value of new approaches before agreeing to adopt them for their own marketing research needs.

Stay Tuned

Next week, I’ll continue my round-up of the 2014 GRIT Report in Part Two.

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About the Author - Sheila Weaver
Sheila Weaver, MA, CMRP is one of Canada’s best reputed market researchers with over 20 years in the business. Her experience spans quantitative and qualitative research methods, and she is a very seasoned focus group moderator, interviewer, survey designer and strategist.