After reading Bill MacElroy's article in the February issue of
I hope I am not contributing to the problems he is
focused on pertaining to poor research as a result of the "Do it Yourself"
movement. Bill's concerns center around the pressure on market research
departments to cut expenses. This forces departments with pending decisions
to avoid the traditional route of approaching the MR department, meeting
to discuss the objectives, transforming the objectives into a research plan.
Instead, they are frequently moving to using low-cost, off-the-shelf
survey tools. What these tools do not provide is the education and
experience to create good research.
Over the years, I have been actively pushing for the people who use market
research results to get out from behind their desks and interact with
the consumer. There are major problems as a result of those using market
research and not knowing the consumer. In most cases, if they left
their office and walked down the street and bumped into a consumer, they
would not recognize her/him.
First and foremost, people using market research must understand the consumer.
They should know how the consumer performs household tasks, including
how they shop. They should also know the words and phrases the consumer
uses, especially those that describe good and poor performance of the products.
They should know the limitations of the consumer. It is all about
knowing and understanding the consumer.
Over the years, I have frequently spoken and written about what I call
the 3 Es of research, Exploratory, Experimental and Evaluative. The
first two, Exploratory and Experimental, are all about the Learning and Understanding
phases of research. While the third E, Evaluative, is the Decision
Making phase of research. It is in this third phase of research, Evaluative,
where the DIY methods need to be restricted. As my grandchildren would
say, this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where you need
the professionals, those who understand the problems with sampling, analysis
and biases associated with wording, environments, locations, etc., of research.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Exploratory phase of research, we
should expect DIY research. We should encourage interaction with the
consumer. We should hope that the research would want to be an expert
on knowing and understanding the consumer. Only whit this knowledge
will the researcher truly appreciate the complexity of good research.
A SHARED OPPORTUNITY -- If you have a need for someone
who knows the 3 Es of research from start to finish, read on.
Last week I made my annual visit to meet with the students of the University
of Georgia's Master of Marketing class. The class of '03 is completing
the academic requirements and a number of these students are seeking jobs/internships.
Several of the available students have experience in the marketing
research industry and all have completed a rigorous program of course work.
Anyone interested in exploring employment opportunities with this group
should contact Dr. Srinivas Reddy, Director, Center of Marketing Studies,
Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, at 706.542.3759, firstname.lastname@example.org
or James Meyer, email@example.com, 706.542.0426.
Sponsor: Sorensen Associates Inc
Portland, OR 800.542.4321
Minneapolis, MN 888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company