By Kaylor Hildenbrand
As my adventure in asking, exploring and learning continued into Day 2 of the AMA Research and Strategy Summit, I recalled being challenged during the “First Time Attendee” meeting to try to walk away with one big thing, one significant learning.
There have been many insights shared and received, ideas and concepts that will trace in and out of our thoughts as we move on to our next projects. What is lingering for me, my one big thing, is the premise of being flexible and doing more with less.
As budgets are tightened or time frames are shortened (and gasp! — sometimes it is both!), we as professional market researchers are being asked to do more and to be more.
Jeff Mercer, Ph.D., Director of Market Research for Microsoft, told his story of meshing the mindset and skills of market researchers with those of business consultants. We should not view ourselves or allow others to think of us a simply a tool to execute a project. In “creating a path forward” for his central research organization, his team developed the vision “to create market insights that drive business impact.” He advises us to change our thinking from working on a project to attacking a business issue. In doing so, you should be able to provide deeper, richer insights in the context of the business as a whole.
Nicole Freund, Consumer Research Manager with The Coleman Company, Inc., shared how companies can leverage their own customer database to forecast trends through the use of prediction markets. It is time to accept that sometimes budgetary or time constraints can push us into a gray area where our sample might not be perfect, or the lines between qualitative and quantitative methods are blurred. She acknowledges and we must always remember that this scenario comes with caveats and limitations, however, it can provide a significant advantage over guesswork and perhaps lead to some surprising insights.
My day wrapped with an energy packed, high speed presentation by Kathryn Korostoff of Research Rockstar LLC aptly titled “Fast! Faster! Fastest!” Here, Kathryn provided valuable information regarding tools available to all of us for social media monitoring, posting “single question polls”, running prediction markets, and exploring idea management. Each of these tools and methods is designed for speed and efficiency. Kathryn echoed Nicole Freund’s sentiments that these approaches come with caveats, but when you need a quick snapshot of consumer perceptions, these just might fit the bill. Kathryn went one step farther to implore all of us to apply our market research “best practices” when playing in this space.
Kaylor Hildenbrand, Principal Consultant with PARK Research Partners LLC, and Publisher of PackageSPEAK.com (Orlando, FL, USA), can be reached directly at 407.637.2576 or by email at [email protected]