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Building transparency and visibility into market research processes

Transparency is on everyone’s lips. Consumers expect it, and as market researchers, we cannot escape it.

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Transparency is on everyone’s lips. Consumers expect it, and as market researchers, we cannot escape it. Not only is transparency is increasingly important for us and our interactions with consumers and their data, but there is also a greater need to provide increased visibility into our processes for our clients.

To create this transparent environment, we must focus on creating true partnerships, with complete alignment and no secrets. Clients that spend their limited budget on a project need visibility into the project to boost comfort levels, which in turn also holds the service provider accountable for delivering the project with the insights desired, on time and on budget.  When the relationship is approached this way, transparency becomes second-nature. 

Practical ways to build transparency from the outset

Creating a sense of community with our clients, that we are all in this together, by aligning values and processes doesn’t have to be a difficult task. 

Some ways to get there include: 

  • Collaborate on project goals and formally agree to these goals together
  • Assign a client relations representative for every project who is tasked as a liaison to share information between teams and answer questions  
  • Build and demonstrate a deep understanding of all technologies used during the project so clients understand what's going on behind the scenes
  • Set the stage for honest communications by staying open to ideas and suggestions from all involved
Do you know what your clients think about your processes?

It is surprising how many market research firms do no research on their own business. And who better to give feedback than one’s own clients? It is up to the team to determine the workflow and decide where to put mechanisms for feedback—but it needs to be done. Not only will it offer insights into the betterment of your processes, but acting on that feedback and making visible changes is a great way to build trust. 

How does technology fit into the equation? 

You can’t talk about market research without touching on the influence that technology is having on every aspect of our business. In truth, transparency and visibility can be achieved using the right technology solution. We’ve found this to be abundantly true for our own business. 

One example includes the tracking work we do with Coca-Cola, a global company operating in multiple markets - with many brands - and countless data streams. We needed a way for all stakeholders to stay on the same page, understand the data and analyze insights - in short, we needed complete visibility for everyone on the team. We accomplished this by creating one centralized, accessible location that processes and harmonizes data. 

The beauty of implementing technology like this is that it allows stakeholders at any one time and in any part of the world to pull data for analysis...and know it’s accurate and updated. They have the confidence that the data can be trusted, whether they use an internal report, their own analysis software or any other external dashboard, the data will be the same. Instead of questioning the source or quality of the data, curious minds, both from the research agency and the client, can spend their time testing hypotheses on what is driving change and, more importantly, determining the best business actions to take as a result. This is technology-driven transparency into processes, in action. 

In conclusion

The concept of transparency must be examined from multiple angles. It is a demand that is being driven by social, cultural and economic factors outside our industry. Expectations of transparency, trust, and visibility will only increase in the coming years, so we must start building it into our processes now - whether it be how we work as a team or how we implement technology. As market research continues to evolve, we must stay ahead to strike the right balance and deliver what our clients are demanding.

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