I love our profession. It is our honor to help companies figure out what their customers really want; to understand their frustrations and problems so that our clients can build solutions.
It is so fundamental that consumer insights should have an influential place within corporations, right? Most senior leaders believe that too. That is why a study by the Corporate Executive Board found that 83% of senior leaders want market research to be a strategic partner; then why do only 25% believe we are? What’s going on?
We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.
What we know is that senior leaders want something that we are not providing. But we have all been part of those conversations lamenting why management does not take our recommendations. Perhaps it’s not them but us. Since we can’t wait for management to change, it is up to us.
I have been studying this issue for over 15 years while running a Fortune 500 insights team and now while running an insights company. Although there is still much to learn, I have identified several roadblocks that prevent us from accepting the role that management wants to give us.
By applying many of these insights, I was able to gain unfettered access to the C-Suite and was a key contributor in strategic conversations. I was even put in charge of an entire division (yea, a research guy running an entire division, pretty cool). Likewise, on the supplier side, it is not uncommon to find us discussing strategic issues with the top ranks of our clients. The reason for this was simply due to being intentional in understanding how best to share insights and a point-of-view so that management will hear.
Our goal for these pages
These pages will be about having a real impact within our organizations. It is not for those who are content taking a backseat, handing over data, and letting others decide. This is not a career advice page. In fact, sometimes communicating what management might need to hear may not be best for our careers.
My goal for “Insights by True North” is to provide helpful strategies to get heard; to have our recommendations accepted; to help our clients get it! After all, our insights are worthless unless our clients hear them, believe them, and take action upon them. These articles are intended to help researchers, strategists, planners, and others become more effective at having an impact within their organizations or with their clients.
We will also discuss new approaches for better insights. There have been so many new learnings in the last decade that reveal how humans truly make decisions. Yet I don’t believe the market research profession has kept up. I see so many studies designed substantially the same as when I was a junior analyst at Hallmark Cards 35 years ago; we may have moved from mall intercept to telephone to online, but the general approaches are the same. But we have learned so much since then. For example, the Likert scale was introduced over 90 years ago. That’s not your father’s scale; that’s your grandfather’s scale. You can’t tell me that with all the behavioral science learning in the last few years that there is not a better way.
I believe we’re on the right track with this. I had a blog a few years ago that discussed many of these same topics. The “open” and “read” rates were huge. CMOs, insight department heads, analsys, agencies were all following. This reaffirmed my belief that there are many out there that want to have a real impact, who are not content sitting on the bench, and who value this type of content.
Finally, these articles will not be just from me. You will read comments from the True North team, and I welcome others who want to contribute to do so.
Of course, if this is not for you, please click the unsubscribe button below.
And for the rest of you, stay tuned!