While we definitely had our share of road trips, BBQ’s and ice cream, we also did some work. Some serious work. We were very focused on a project that was close to our hearts: talking to clients about their experience working with research providers and how it can be better. This research is an important part of how we, as a consultancy, can better learn about those who we value most, our clients. We began this journey with one goal in mind, to learn more about how we can be even better partners to you.
We conducted more than 32 hours of in-depth interviews with a range of business professionals who considered the use of research an important part of their work. All were communications research decision makers. Some knew us and had worked with us for years. Some were new clients. Some had yet to work with us, and others didn’t even know exactly who was doing the interview.
We drank a lot of coffee.
So, what did we hear?
This blog will begin a series that shares out findings from our Trends Report (click here to request the full report), focusing on four main themes that emerged:
- Your real ask of research partners and what you often get.
- How research is changing.
- What it looks like in research heaven.
- And, the shape of things to come…AKA the future of research.
First, we need to walk through your world, so, let’s begin with a little bit about you.
Your job titles cover a host of functions not on your business cards—and your responsibilities keep growing—making you time-compressed like never before in your careers. You care deeply about your brands, but even the mention of work/life balance is stressing you out.
On average, 30% of your time is devoted to research, with communications research included in that mix. You don’t see research as just another box that needs to be checked. It’s a critical tool that is being utilized by you to pave the way into the future.
Though often not the lion share of your workload, branded communications research is near the top of your list for importance. Why? It’s where the brand connects to the customer—it has to be right! This research is a small part of your world with big consequences.
“I think quality creative is more important now than ever if you want anyone to see it.”
–Director of Insights
With research carrying such importance to you and your companies, finding the right partners is crucial. All of you, without exception, preferred to discover new research partners through recommendations from current or former colleagues. You want trusted referrals, word of mouth from a known source is your favorite way to find a research partner. After that, conferences, industry news and internal vendor days help you to meet new companies, but it’s a distant second to getting a reference you trust.
In this time-starved environment, conference attendance is dropping, while webinars and podcasts you can do from your desk are ratcheting up. This lack of time is also driving some of what we will address in the next blog:
What you want from your research partners and the gap, sometimes devastating to your productivity, between that and what you get.
Amy Shea is a Brand Experience Director at Ameritest