Friday, September 28, 2012
It’s time for an update on my How to win my business (a memo from your client) blog post from a while back.
What’s prompting the update? A recent interview of the mysterious @Angry_MR_Client over at Green Book Blog and subsequent discussion in the comments section. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it! The interview and discussion highlighted for me yet again the need for continued healthy dialogue between research suppliers and clients.
My previous blog post focused on online or telephone interaction with potential suppliers or clients, but I feel it’s important to update that here to highlight the importance of face-to-face interactions.
Let me say right off the bat that yes I’m definitely biased towards face-to-face interaction as I work for a company that among other things produces events. So, don't take this as the voice for the whole client side of the industry, but the opinion of one client-side researcher.
As is the case with most client-side researchers, we have our roster of go-to vendors for different types of projects. However, it’s often the case that we need to deviate from our standard roster when a unique project comes up that our current suppliers may not have expertise in.
And that’s when the options can become overwhelming! From printed and online directories to many many sales emails… In that moment of decision, what do I wish for? A personal connection and face-to-face discussion.
That's why it's important to me to attend at least one market research live event a year, preferably an event with a good number of suppliers exhibiting. Why? So I can relate a face to the company, so I can see a demo of your software in person, so I can see how you and your staff interact with other client-side researchers, so I can see how passionate (if at all) you are about your company’s service or product.
You can see why meeting suppliers at an event is important to me. Now for some compelling stats on why it should also be important to suppliers as well, thanks to the Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR):
-According to research by CEIR and Exhibit Surveys, Inc. closing a lead generated at an event costs almost 40 percent less than a lead generated from the field.
-76% of attendees pre-plan the exhibits they want to visit. So, suppliers, you DO need to do some legwork pre-event to reach out to your key audience letting them know you’ll be there.
-This one’s the kicker for me. A CEIR study found that 79% (!!) of leads are not followed up on. So have a follow-up system in place and a plan of action after the event.
I do realize that funding for exhibiting or even travel to some of the major events is sometimes not possible. But another way to establish face-to-face contact is letting us know when you’ll be in the area visiting clients and have a few extra hours. More often than not, we're willing to do lunch. (Shout out for lunch the Portland, Maine area – we have lobster mac and cheese…with truffles!)
Is a face-to-face connection going to guarantee you win my business? No, but establishing that face-to-face connection does help move your company up on my “to contact” list and separates you from random, faceless directory listings when projects come up!
Friday, September 21, 2012
For many of us in market research, September is one of the most stressful and crazy months of the year.
On the client side, we're rushing to get 2013 projects defined and structured, preparing our budgets, requesting headcount, etc.
On the supplier side, you're ultra-busy taking our calls and providing quick turn-arounds on pricing requests...and budgeting for what your work will look like for 2013.
So in honor of "Budget Season" and the need for a bit of levity - it's time for a little market research/statistics humor!
Brought to my attention by the fabulous (and funny!) Annie Pettit of Conversition - have you ever felt like one of the characters in this video when dealing with a client?
For some great math, research, and infographics humor I need to give a shout-out to the team at I Love Charts for bringing us links to everything from “Gangnam Style for Math Nerds” videos to “What Sports
are they Arguing About” charts.
Finally, it's never too early to start shopping for the holidays!
Have little ones at home? Who wouldn't want a plush Chi-Square Distribution?
...or maybe an I Heart Statistics bib?
Perhaps you'd like something to put in your holiday gift list? How about decorating your home office with these faux-vintage WWII era data analysis posters?
I hope you've enjoyed this break for some market research humor - now back to budgets and data analysis!
Friday, September 14, 2012
I was talking to a junior colleague recently, who noted that folks with titles such as the above (bestowed on them by industry peers) are the ones who "get all the visibility" and typically get the funds to travel to conferences, speak at industry events, etc.
We praise the innovators, the disruptors, the folks who raise the thought level of the industry, and we absolutely should - precisely because they bring the game to the next level.
But in this post, I want to ensure we're also praising the project managers, the data analysts, and the strategists who often provide real structure for the business and projects and their work often allows the industry leaders to shine, and the visionaries to have enough time to create their visions. We can have all the disruptive thinking and lofty goals in the world, but without the project planning, the task management, etc., it doesn't get done.
Many of you reading this are leaders in your organizations: C-level executives, VPs, Directors and Managers. We all think heavily, deeply, and loftily about how to move our companies and our business forward. Please take a moment today to thank the project managers, strategists, programmers, PowerPoint designers, traffic managers, and others in your organization for keeping things running smoothly. And if you feel an imbalance on your team (perhaps too heavy in the visionary department and not enough execution?) consider adding those skill sets to your team, or add training for your existing staff.
Consider also bringing some of these folks to TMRE with you, to hone their skill sets in tracks such as "Consultative Skill Development" and "The New MR Toolkit."
Friday, September 7, 2012
I was watching a profile on Sal Khan (of Khan Academy) the other day and one of the interviewees said something that always resonates with me - the most impactful disruptors and innovators that change your industry often come from outside your industry.
Now, we can take this on a macro level and ask who and what "from outside" will be the big disruptor in the market research industry?
But we can also take this on a more micro level and note that disruptors for CPG research may come from B2B research, disruptors for quant research may come from qual research, and so on.
And the disruptor could be you!
As we've talked about on this blog leading up to TMRE this fall, one of the big benefits of attending events is that you get to mix and mingle with folks outside of your particular industry and that's a good thing! What better way to get some fresh thinking and learn new ideas?
Once folks get onsite at a conference, many tend to confer with their specific industry peers and share "war stories" - that's great but get out of your comfort zone! Don't just confer with someone who does, pretty much, exactly what you do - chat with folks who do something vastly different...you'll likely learn something!
That goes for sessions too. Of course you want to attend sessions that have a direct bearing on your job, but pick at least one session that may be a little "out there" for what you do - you could pick up a nugget of insight that does have relevance to your job.
If you're looking for an interesting take on innovation and breakthrough ideas happening when you bring concepts from one field into another, check out The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation.
And for a pretty comprehensive list of excellent reads about innovation, check out this list (airplane reading for your TMRE trip?).
Monday, September 3, 2012
Ok folks, let’s talk infographics. They are a hot topic in business information circles (including research), and love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay.
Let’s break this down. Common complaints about infographics that I’ve heard include:
- They’re busy – there’s so much information in one visual that they eye is not sure where to look…and how the heck do you print them out?
- Everyone thinks they are an infographics designer, even if they’re just essentially creating a colorful PowerPoint slide. Take this HOT PINK infographic about the Kardashian wedding for example.
- They’re too simplistic and incomplete – they’re not communicating the full scope of research findings to the customer or end-user.
- Unless you have in-house graphic design, good infographics can be very expensive to produce.
- Data used in infographics is dated, incorrect, or very biased.
Ok, let’s face it, there are some pretty awful infographics out there, and the tide of folks complaining about infographics is growing. Witness sites such as a Tumblr for terrible infographics, articles such as “Ending the Infographic Plague ,” and, well, this one from Gizmodo. There are also folks out there simply not using the correct information (i.e. old data when new data is available) to create their infographics.
All of these complaints aside, it’s hard to ignore the fact that sometimes one infographic piece can cut through the clutter of overwhelming data and give the client or end-user an ‘ah hah’ moment. That’s when an infographic is done well, delivering data in an unexpected way that resonates. In addition to using infographics for client presentations and deliverables, infographics are typically excellent traffic drivers on your website, so it’s understandable why they’re particularly popular right now.
So, if you’re working on a project that involves infographics, remember they have a short shelf life (data gets old fast!), they can be expensive to produce, and it’s on YOU to ensure they’re done accurately.
For inspiration (and guidance) be sure to check out the fabulous Edward Tufte, “The Leonardo da Vinci of data,” and you can start with some good examples curated by Kissmetrics.
Also remember that if you’re joining us at TMRE in November there are some related to data visualization, such as “Making an Impact – Data Visualization and Deployment Techniques that Bring Research to Life.”
Finally, are you curious about research-specific infographics? Look no further than The Nitty GRITty of the Research Industry!