March 9, 2007
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I just finished re-reading an article written by a good friend, Steve Hellebusch of Hellebusch Research & Consulting which appeared in a 2004 issue of Marketing News. The article was titled “Cost grows when needed research overlooked.” Buried within the article is a concept that I think is even more important than overlooked research. The concept deals with the respect shown, or should I say not shown, the market researcher. The effect of this respect concept affects not only overlooked research but all research. The following are excerpts from Steve’s article.
Market research is, in some ways, the Rodney Dangerfield of professions. "We don’t get no respect." As a marketing professional, I can say this with a touch of humor intended, but it still seems puzzling. Knowledge is power, after all.
Evidence of the lack of respect is clear. Marketing research is viewed as a function anyone can perform with little or no training: in one instance I know of, a manager in the sales force was made, instantly, director of marketing research. To make matters worse, in many cases, marketing researchers are rarely at the meetings where research needs are discussed. Other internal clients carry the message forward, in some way, shape or form. More often than not, this approach leads to a committee design, in other words a series of compromizes leading to an adventure in mediocrity. I guess I was never convinced that the thinking of 10 heads are better than one.
When the marketing researcher is involved in the decision making and execution, another area of the lack of respect appears. If marketing research picks a winner and generates volume and business, it often is not reported outside the company because of its confidential nature. If it identifies a loser and helps the company avoid spending millions foolishly, no one applauds the death of a project that "failed." When, as a marketing research craftsman, I have had to report facts that dash the hopes of a project team, I am typically not congratulated.
Just as in the case of beauty, success is in the eye of the beholder.