Have You Squeezed the Lemon?

Aug 13 2010

A recent Accenture study of senior marketing executives highlights the growing need for smarter use of data, creation of unique value propositions and squeezing more business impact from less budget.

Accenture talked to 400 senior marketing executives across US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Japan, China, India and Australia in large companies (ie in most markets with annual revenues over 1 billion).  Their findings are dramatic, although perhaps unsurprising in the current economic climate.  Some of the headlines for me are that

* 62% of senior marketers believe that marketing organisations will change fundamentally within the next 5 years

* almost 80% of senior marketers believe that their budgets will stay the same or decline

* one third (33%) of senior marketers say they have average or below average performance in all four of these capabilities

That is, marketers know what’s needed and say that they are currently not up to the job!

What are some of the lessons for market research?

1) Design and analyse research projects with a broader and longer term perspective - don’t just think in terms of the specific business issue, but consider if your findings have other implications for clients.

2) Use past research and market knowledge to inform your analysis.  Look across studies and see what you can learn to help design smarter and more efficient research programs.

3) If the business issue doesn’t need research then save your money!  Many business questions can be answered by looking at existing information.  Sometimes, the risks and impact of addressing a question do not justify the investment in research.  If not, just take a judgement call.

4) Use research to inspire.  Where you find interesting ideas, or new consumer truths, suggest ideas for innovations and opportunities.  Use debriefs as opportunities to share and explore ideas, and not just as information dumps.

Although Accenture’s findings and the current environment may appear a threat to market research, I believe that they present a great opportunity.  If marketers need help to analyse customer profiles and create new customer value propositions, then market researchers are the best placed to provide these skills.

There’s plenty of juice left in the lemon, as long as we squeeze in the right place.

REFERENCES

http://www.accenture.com/Global/Consulting/ Accenture Survey of Senior Marketers

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