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Eight Rules for Next Generation Market Research

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This post was written by Nancy Lazarus, consultant and new contributor to PRNewser.

Communispace President and CEO Diane Hessan highlighted eight guidelines for conducting market research in the future during a presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)conference in New York on Tuesday.

She based her tips on in-depth conversations with 100 market research executives, and many of these pointers can also be applied to PR-related research.

After the jump, Hessan’s eight tips.


1. Manage your social media jitters.

Understand your customers’ worlds and what is important to them and don’t be sidetracked by media stories that are not on their radar.

2. Game-changing insights don’t usually come from testing.

Don’t spend time proving what you already know, and do separate the feedback and input phase of research from the discovery phase searching for unmet needs.

3. Go beyond the ad hoc nature of research.

Project-based research is inefficient and instead research should be conducted as an ongoing consumer dialogue.

4. Cutting edge technology combined with poor research methodology can lead to lousy research.

Sometimes the more traditional research methods can still be more valid than the latest techniques.

5. Don’t mistake data for insights.

Data overload can lead to statements such as “87 percent of the 50 percent who completed 23 percent of the survey thought it was a waste of time.” Instead, focus on the core issues.

6. Top corporate executives would rather have fast than perfect.

Sometimes it is better to get limited feedback quickly than to wait longer for more comprehensive results.

7. Never underestimate the power of n = 1.

Innovation can often be found in one comment or lone voice in a survey vs. spending too much time understanding majority patterns.

8. In the future, engagement will trump sample size.

Finding customers who are actively engaged with your company/brand will be the key moving forward.

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