#1 Favour in-depths For real depth of understanding always go for one-on-ones over focus groups Could a focus group ever tell you that some nature-lovers use binoculars to approach God?
#2 Pick experience Too many tasks have been wrongly downgraded and given to juniors Did you really want a chaotic 75 pagedesk research report or 3 pages giving you precise & meaningful insights? Reevaluate the experience needed to complete research tasks
#3 Look for the essence Avoid transcripts and videos: no one (should) have the time to review these What counts is: the essential, the break-through insight, the aha! moment A BIG outcome from a focus group could be a one liner: not a presentation deck
#4 Use innovative methods A big agency billed a training session I attended New research techniques for the new decade, then presented semiotics, lexical analysis & tracking! Their justification: a new wave of researchers find this stuff new There is little innovation in research so insist on new ways; new approaches
#5 Reject research as a job A major FMCG firm has an overflow of customer, shopper & channel data Its insights team see running research studies as their job Avoid this: delivering business goals is the real objective, a task which is (sometimes) supported by research
#6 Become your consumer What do consumers say? Become the consumer of your products and youll already have the first insights When I worked for Habitat, I had to spend days in store; working for Olam (a commodities company) requires time spent living & working in the countryside
#7 Probe people How many times have I seen user- based segmentations? But we are consumers for a fraction of our lives People are more than consumers: they have jobs, friends, hobbies - & all this colours attitudes & behaviours Research real people in their everyday lives first before drilling down to purchase & usage
#8 Know your culture Working with Ford, they wanted databooks; Virgin Atlantic wanted interpretation Know that company cultures dictate the type of research that is required Know too, that there are times whenthe real research need is at odds with what the culture normally dicates
#9 Focus on the last 5 items Huge U&A surveys are overloaded with detailed questions But questions near the end can often be the key to decode the results I particularly like value statements tacked on the back so I know, the who? and not just the how much/how often/why
#10 Cut down your budget Even with complex targeting, incremental focus groups deliver diminishing returns Ive seen 8 even 16 groups commissioned when 4 would have given 95%+ of insights In-depths are the same. Did 72 make the study more robust or were the last 42 interviews giving the same thing?
What is Futures Coaching up to during May 2012? Helping reinvent an entire supermarket department Preparing an international innovations project for a winning global brand Building a Key Note for NGO Fundraisers in Geneva in JunePitching to build an international development strategy for a major European agency Planning a business trip to Jakarta and Singapore Pitching some new book ideas to Pearson
LONDON • PARIS Website: www.futurescoaching.comBlog: http://futurescoaching.typepad.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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