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Think Like Your CEO: Creating a Lasting Seat at the Table for Market Research and Competitive Intelligence

In the market research field we don’t often look beyond our external key stakeholders to understand why people behave the way they behave. For example, we are so very good at getting at insights related to consumer behavior and relay why consumers behave the way they do. But how often is it that we take that same level of understanding of human behavior and apply that to running a successful Market Research Organization.  There is much to be learned from an organization’s CEO and CMO and how to relate that to running corporate Market Research and Competitive Intelligence organizations.

What do CEO’s and CMO’s do that Market Research departments don’t do?  I will ask each of you reading this as I am sure you have perspective on this and may like to add your thoughts.

One thing that CEO’s and CMO’s do that most Market Research departments don’t do well is have a relentless pursuit of delivering their numbers. They tend to stop at nothing to make sure that sales and profits are delivered.  Do Market Research departments do the same? Do they promise specific sales objectives will be met and how they will help the company?  Do market research departments drive for cost efficiencies with relentless pursuit like CMO’s and CEO’s do? Do Market Research Departments help identify ways to create topline and bottom line impact voluntarily or only when they are asked?

What about in the area of assessing talent?  CEO’s and CMO’s typically look at talent on a regular basis. They look for talent that can solve business problems and drive results. They look for great people leadership. How much attention do we spend on that in the Market Research arena?  Do we try to develop a research person’s business and leadership skills as much as develop their project management and methods knowledge?

So how do we get a seat at the table and create impact?  Might it be that we need to be as relentless on key business topics as our other C suite executives? Don’t we need to know more about the business and less about the project?  Don’t we need to be true business partners in every sense of the word? In my experience that is the case. The CEO of Novartis and other companies where I ran the Market Research and Competitive Intelligence function expected not only me but my team to deliver business value, not just value understanding any specific market research project.

How do you transform Market Research department from being transitional project managers to being true business thought partners?  Love to hear your thoughts.

My fellow Cambiar business partner, Ian Lewis, and I having created  successful Market Research and Competitive Intelligence functions at such well known companies as Time Inc, ToysRUS, Campbell Soup, Novartis and others.  We have ways to help build world class Market Research and Competitive Intelligence organizations and are here to help you have an impactful seat at the table.

For more information on Cambiar’s Research Impact Practice and Monica Wood.

by Monica Wood, Partner

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