Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Research Priorities Are All Wrong

I got an email today from the Marketing Research Association spelling out the "top 6 issues for protecting the profession". Included were:

  1. Increasing difficulty of reaching consumers via cell phones
  2. Consumer fears of behavior tracking
  3. Stage and federal government interest in shady incentive practices used to entice medical professionals
  4. Unpopularity of "robocalls" and automated dialing
  5. Public backlash to "push-polls"
  6. Data security and breach protocols

While each of these dynamics is a threat to the future of the research industry, the bigger threat is the increasing irrelevance of research to senior management. More and more companies have outsourced their strategic marketing research functions to suppliers. The suppliers have been consolidating, often being acquired by bigger agency or marketing services holding companies. Not surprisingly, there is a serious degradation of objectivity that occurs in the process. And the more junior marketers now left client-side to direct the research program within their companies are not generally as politically senior/influential as one needs to be to push through the right research agenda - especially in times of immense cost-cutting pressure. (see Rebuilding Trust in Research as a Measurement Tool)

Sure, there are many executional threats facing the research industry today. But unless the way research is conceived in an appropriate strategic/financial context and prioritized for the value it potentially holds, the methodological threats will be but cubes floating in an ocean of icebergs.

It's time the research profession re-rises to the occasion. I hope they do.

No comments: