This is a fifth part in a series on ‘Getting the Most From Your Marketing Research’ from guest blogger Chris Bonney of Bonney & Company. Bonney & Company is a full-service marketing research firm, providing a full range of custom marketing research services to businesses, government agencies and organizations in the non-profit sector.
Marketing researchers come in all shapes and sizes. Some look like professors, others like mad scientists. You should look upon your researcher as you might your lawyer or accountant; that is, as someone who’s clearly on your side, but who must be trusted, and expected, to be frankly honest with you.
Think about these as you give thought to the “chemistry” of who you work with.
- Look for curiosity and experience. A good research doesn’t just “take orders,” but rather is proactive and inquiring.
- Look for good, empathetic listeners. A good researcher has to be able to set his or her own biases aside.
- Look for a solid methodological foundation, but also the ability to see “beyond the numbers.” Insight frequently comes not only from the results, but also from what isn’t being said.
- Recognize the difference between academic and commercial researchers*.
- Look for someone who can bring ideas and learning from other categories.
- Look for someone with a good grasp of history, the social sciences and popular culture. A good researcher has to have an understanding of different kinds of people and the different kinds of ways different people live.
Keep in mind:
- Too much concentration in one industry limits the opportunity for fresh ideas, insight or innovation.
- Look for researchers who can tell you something, not just recite or hide behind numbers.
- Be wary of researchers who say there’s only one way to do something.
- If you’re going to buy a packaged research program, make sure it fits your conditions and needs.
* Academic researchers tend to be more focused on the process and can be prone to thinking in semester-long increments of time, while commercial researchers are more focused on getting actionable answers and moving quickly.
Photo credit: hufort
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