Febronia Ruocco on market research challenges and how to solve them

We welcomed back Febronia Ruocco to our podcast recently. She is a seasoned Strategic Insights professional and newly certified executive coach, and during the episode, she provided valuable insights into the challenges and dynamics of the market research industry. With an impressive track record working with notable brands like Cadbury, Schweppes, Heineken, and GSK, Febronia shared her perspectives on the evolving landscape of market research.

Febronia highlighted the significant challenges facing the market research industry, on both the client and agency sides, emphasizing the complexities arising from cultural differences and organizational dynamics. She noted, "The dynamics and the way we're all doing it and working together is not always so straightforward." She stressed the importance of addressing these challenges to foster better relationships and partnerships within the industry. She mentions some specific challenges: “I think there's a lot of flux at the moment as we come to terms with the whole AI revolution, how we work with it…. there's lots of challenges in the environment, lack of budget, lack of resources, lack of time. Also the way that insights has potentially been heavily used for measurement and KPI tracking and almost like a test and fail.”

Reflecting on her experiences, Febronia discussed some different types of marketing partners such as insight-driven, triers, and adversarial rejectors. She described insight-driven partners as collaborative and consumer-focused, while triers may be skeptical but willing to engage. On the other hand, adversarial rejectors present significant challenges, resisting collaboration and viewing research as a hindrance.

Febronia emphasized the need for market researchers to tailor their approach based on the type of partner they encounter.  She says, "Let's be honest with ourselves, the marketeer is never really going to be as excited to meet the insight or the market research partners as they are an ad agency. But I think we can use that to inspire ourselves and say how can we elevate and amplify our message so that we do become more exciting, so that we do, become more fun, so that we do provide impact and then they see that. Our expertise provides more potential to win great awards because they're putting the consumer at the heart of everything they do and that's what we all want, because the industry wants to work well together in partnership. I don't know any agencies that don't want great partnership with the client and marketing teams."

Throughout the conversation, Febronia underscored the value of market research in driving business outcomes and mitigating risks. She encouraged researchers to reflect on their contributions and communicate their impact effectively, even in challenging circumstances. "We're not very good at blowing our own trumpets. But, we  do deliver a lot for the businesses we work with."

In conclusion, Febronia's insights shed light on the nuances of market research partnerships and the importance of navigating these relationships effectively. By understanding the diverse perspectives of marketing partners and leveraging strategic approaches, market researchers can drive greater impact and foster collaboration within the industry. 



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