How can market researchers add even more value during tough times?

Here are 3 smart ways to uncover and deliver value as an insights professional, especially in the current global crisis.

How can you add even more value as a researcher? This was one of the key questions that market researchers are trying to answer during the current crisis, according to a recent survey by Ray Poynter of #NewMR. Some of his key findings included suggestions from industry professionals to make the case that research is necessary, offer learning opportunities and resources, and provide advice. We do all these things anyway, right? Now’s the time to pursue a truly ROI-driven approach.

As an industry that provides the data-driven foundation for clients to make important business decisions, we have historically been behind in providing the data necessary to prove our own worth. It isn’t easy. But current times have made it more necessary than ever before. As budgets shrink and futures are uncertain, clients will continue to demand that we demonstrate a clear ROI for our services. 

We can get closer to providing these metrics by bridging the gap between the data and the insights, focusing on outcomes that provide a competitive edge, and providing honest evaluations on methodology and budget. A deep understanding of the business, customers, and the market is vital. This is the foundation of proving value. The recommendations that came out of Ray’s survey are also smart ways to uncover value, especially given the current global crisis. 

  • Make the case for research. Has there ever been a time when gathering data has been more critical? Consumer insights take the pulse of a brand or business target audience, helping to guide important decisions. The fact is that consumers' behavior and sentiment have changed and continues to change drastically on what seems to be a daily basis. To plan immediate and future actions, brands must understand an audience that, while made up of the same people, for the most part, has shifted dramatically in its needs and expectations. Consumer insights can help them stay on top of this uncertain landscape.
  • Offer educational resources. The truth is that market research companies have stepped up to the plate during the last few weeks, doing what they do best: delivering insights. By producing resources to help educate and inform, researchers are proving intrinsic value. Research Live has published a long list of resources, including tracker studies and deep data dives into certain research questions. These studies are giving insights into everything from consumer perceptions of specific brands and brand actions, all the way to behaviors and attitudes of defined demographic groups. Many other companies are hosting webinars, publishing white papers, and providing other learning opportunities for their peers and clients. These are solid ways to show the value of market research that can be executed while working from home and dealing with the fallout from the crisis.
  • Provide advice. Be a part of the conversation on how to move forward. Provide out-of-the-box ideas, coupled with strategies that are actionable and straightforward, to get your clients or company through these tough times. This can be as simple as hopping on a brainstorming session via Zoom or creating a quick braindump document with a list of ideas. Don’t overthink it. In an unstable and uncertain time, many need something concrete to work toward to help with good positioning for the future. The #NewMR survey report stated that many participants in their survey “would like to see researchers use their skills, experience, and capabilities during the crisis.” Find opportunities to do this, and help your stakeholders gain a useful understanding of their needs - needs that they may not even know they have. 

The important thing is to continue the forward momentum. Don’t freeze in the face of the current situation, but diligently seek ways to demonstrate value. Remember to address the basics like budget, outcomes, and insights that directly address business challenges. Create an added layer of value during this crisis by being a true partner and guiding the next steps.

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