Archive for June, 2013

Another sanctimonious rave

The national reps for ESOMAR recently were asked to outline some of the challenges facing market research in our part of the world. Fortunately, there was a word limit so here are mine (both of which slosh around in the Threats and Weaknesses SWOT buckets I’m afraid).


1… Inertia in adjusting to the higher expectations of clients who are still clamouring for creative solutions to their marketing problems rather than the typical output from “command and control” type surveys. We all claim to be delivering “insight” (the most hackneyed word in the researcher’s lexicon) but most don’t do this regularly enough. The vast majority of researchers don’t make it into the boardroom because our work doesn’t warrant it. No wonder clients are going outside ESOMAR and MRS membership lists for their answers and ideas. 2… A decline in standards in two key areas: (a)  Sampling. This is not a criticism of online panels – at least we understand and accept the limitations here. There has been a gradual decline in sampling standards offline as well. The vast majority of surveys nowadays cannot have margin of error calculations done because they are not representative; most are convenience samples and response rates are too low. It’s simply a quality issue – garbage in, garbage out. (b) Reporting. PowerPoint is the villain in research as it is in the military where it is referred to as “hypnotising chickens”. It gives the illusion of understanding. As Gen. James N. Mattis of the US Marine Corps said recently “PowerPoint makes us stupid”. Most researchers fall back on it because it’s the quickest and easiest way to present. It encourages superficial analysis as it obviates the need for a clear narrative; clarity and narration require analysis, synthesis and imagination. But the chickens are waking up. Love these new infographics and data visualisation techniques. For a convenient update on these catch the next #NewMR  webinar  on 28 June 2013 to sharpen up your presentations. Go to banner_mail_600-1And a round of applause Ray Poynter and Sue York of The Future Place who do this for virtually nothing except the warm glow of helping the research community.