WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
The following article describes several full primary research projects from work with a major market research company. As I have worked in such an environment and on the client side of research I understand the value of providing a client with real answers they can plan campaigns on.
As I work as a consultant my main value to clients who want to run major research projects is in assisting them in designing the questions and types of research they need as well as providing strategy and analysis before and after the research.
HISTORY: I joined McGregor Tan soon after one of the larger research companies in Adelaide (McGregor) was purchased by Zing Hi Tan.
MISSION: My task was to assist the MD with the strategic direction of the company, oversee some researchers and perform research projects.
ACTION: This role was one of the steepest learning curve roles that I have taken on. It was also one of the most enjoyable, particularly when it came to resolving client issues. Often clients would come to the company with a defined need or a need to understand a campaign they had already released. Either way the specific research tasks that I performed were:
Meeting with clients and confirming requirements
Submitting research proposals including cost to clients
Creating all research methodology and questions. This included creating questions for research such as focus groups; telephone surveys, door to door surveys, venue exit surveys etc.
Creating reports and final presentations
Creating Marketing Plans if required
Performing presentations for single clients and boards.
Giving Recommendations for future research
Examples of innovative market research
RESULTS: Below is a snapshot of some of the research that I performed. This research occurred in 2000.
I worked with many diverse clients including: GTEC (doing due diligence for a purchase decision on the Adelaide Casino), Transition Optical (optician survey on transition lens preferences, cost and advertising), Adelaide Entertainment Centre (three surveys: patrons, promoters and corporate clients) and WorkCover (satisfaction surveys).
Example ONE: Research was performed to provide detailed information on the space usage of the Adelaide Casino facilities and a profile of its patrons. It was performed for a company called G-Tech (a US company) to assist them in the prediction of increased patronage associated with several space usage scenarios. The goal of the research was part of their due diligence plan to help their decision process of whether to purchase the casino.
Some of the general findings are shown below:
Example TWO: The Australian Cement and Concrete Australia (ACCA) project:
- The ACCA wanted to update very technical information about preferences from many diverse stakeholders regarding the preferred material (concrete, bitumen or pavers) for different applications such as road, pavements, industrial estates etc.
- This very long survey (over 40 minutes by phone) needed to be as simple and clear as possible while obtaining meaningful technical information.
- Many iterations of the questionnaire were required between the original survey, a pilot run, and the final survey. I ensured that both the client and I knew what kind of data was going to be collected and that they were regularly updated.
- The research resulted in the ACCC re-aligning their associations’ goals to the latest interest of their members and a major overhaul of their monthly members’ magazine.
Many of the clients had very well developed ideas about what research they thought they wanted. And many other research companies might be tempted just to accept this at face value. However when we discussed what other research and lines of questions we could ask for them such as exploratory research (focus groups) followed by phone surveys, they often saw more possibilities and value in the research than originally considered. We also found that using the experience of our company’s senior managers and knowledge of results from previous similar studies allowed us to offer the client much more value.
I always value understanding as much as possible about the industry and competitive environment that a client operates in before beginning a research proposal. I am also not afraid to suggest alternative courses of action should preliminary research uncover important facts. This is the mark of a good researcher. This provides good advice rather than just telling the client what they may want to hear. In the mid to long term this is what really makes a positive difference for many companies.