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Less is More: Delivering Value (Not Just Reams of Data From Your Research)

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Mike Sherman and Neil Gains will present a method that allows you to create insightful, concise and practical reports in four steps, producing presentations that typically range from 15 to 25 pages.

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Less is More: Delivering Value (Not Just Reams of Data From Your Research)

  1. 1. Creating Better Research Reports Less Is More: Delivering Value (Not Just Reams of Data) From Your Research Mike Sherman & Neil Gains
  2. 2. NewMR 2019 Sponsors Communication Gold Silver Creating Better Research Reports
  3. 3. Less Is More: Delivering Value (Not Just Reams of Data) From Your Research 1. Clients are not happy! 2. Reports are too long and lack a solution focus. 3. Concise, synthesized reports will improve client satisfaction.
  4. 4. 5 Very 43210 Not Very Market Research Human Resources Information Services Marketing Finance and Accounting How useful is the information? In The 1990s CEOs Didn’t Value Market Research
  5. 5. In 2019 The Problem Persists 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Very poor Poor Fair Good Very good Excellent Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “How would you describe the quality of that report?” Report Receivers / Users Report Creators / Writers n=384n=112
  6. 6. In 2019 The Problem Persists 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Very poor Poor Fair Good Very good Excellent Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “How would you describe the quality of that report?” Report Receivers / Users Report Creators / Writers n=384n=112
  7. 7. • In what ways was the report good? “Accurate data, thorough reporting of results, use of charts and graphs to help visualize data” • In what ways was the report poor? “Writing was overly wordy and conclusions were not insightful” Users Want More Than Visual Appeal* Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?” *Note: all paired quotes in this presentation are from the same person
  8. 8. • In what ways was the report good? “Readability” • In what ways was the report poor? “Actionability” Writers Know That Actionability Is Lacking Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?”
  9. 9. Less is More 1. Clients are not happy! 2. Reports are too long and lack a solution focus. 3. Concise, synthesized reports will improve client satisfaction.
  10. 10. 3 Bad (But Common) Examples 1. The “War and Peace Report” 2. The Data Drop Report 3. The Agatha Christie Report
  11. 11. • In what ways was the report good? “Good summaries … Very actionable insights” • In what ways was the report poor? “Too long” Reports Are “Too Long” … Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?” CREATOR / WRITER
  12. 12. • In what ways was the report good? “Met the clients’ stated needs” • In what ways was the report poor? “Boring, paint by numbers, way too long, not actionable” … Boring… Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?” CREATOR / WRITER
  13. 13. • In what ways was the report good? “Contained the key survey results” • In what ways was the report poor? “Tried to cram in too much info, which made it very confusing to pull out the insights and actions” … “Hide” Their Insights … Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?” RECEIVER / USER (SUPPLIER)
  14. 14. • In what ways was the report good? “Comprehensive” • In what ways was the report poor? “Lack of insightful analysis” … And Lack Insights. Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?” RECEIVER / USER
  15. 15. “Many researchers are still uncomfortable with providing clear, concise recommendations.” Marjolein Van Nieuwkasteele, former Head of Insights, Philips These Are Long Standing Problems Source: Research World, April 2005, pages 13-14
  16. 16. LESS IS MORE 1. Clients are not happy! 2. Reports are too long and lack a solution focus. 3. Concise, synthesized reports will improve client satisfaction.
  17. 17. Solution Oriented And Concise • End result focused, synthesized output • Concise reporting 1. Elevator speech 2. One page executive summary 3. 15-25 page document 4. Extensive appendices
  18. 18. Everybody Agrees What Is Important Report Receivers / Users 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Detailed Rigorous Objective Practical Concise Insightful Report Creators / Writers 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Detailed Rigorous Objective Practical Concise Insightful Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “Which of the following do you think are most important for an ‘Excellent’ report?”
  19. 19. • In what ways was the report good? “Report was visually appealing” • In what ways was the report poor? “Lacked clear recommendations related to the business objectives, although it met the research objectives” Users Want Concise Answers Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?”
  20. 20. • In what ways was the report good? “Charting was really well done. Great infographics work” • In what ways was the report poor? “Too much detail … not enough insights and recommendations” Writers Know This Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “In what ways was the report poor/good?”
  21. 21. "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” Ted Levitt Harvard Business School Focus On Outputs, Not Inputs
  22. 22. Synthesis, Not Summary SYNTHESIS I’ve been living dangerously FACTS I broke my knee A burglar knocked in my car window I got a speeding ticket SUMMARY My knee, car and wallet were all damaged recently
  23. 23. The Elevator Speech • Would your audience know your core message from sharing a lift with you for less than a minute… • What issue you are addressing? • What is your current hypothesis (answer)? • What your next steps are? • What do you want your audience to say when they have to tell someone who hasn’t read the report?
  24. 24. Elevator Speech Best Case Example New Product Test Answer: Launch!
  25. 25. Executive Summary 1. One page! 2. Starts with elevator speech 3. Gives 2-5 key reasons why [Elevator Speech........... ....................................... ...............................] This is the answer because: 1. _______________ 2. _______________ 3. _______________
  26. 26. POINT A •1 •2 •3 POINT B •4 •5 •6 POINT C •7 •8 •9 OTHER FINDINGS 10. 11. 12. BACKGROUNDCOVER PAGE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A. B. C. CHART 2 CHART 3CHART 1 CHART 5 CHART 6CHART 4 CHART 8 CHART 9CHART 7 CHART 11 CHART 12CHART 10 NEXT STEPS APPENDIX 20 Pages! 1 2 3 4 5 6 10 14 987 131211 15 16 17 18 19 20 Concise Report
  27. 27. The Pyramid Principle • Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving • Used extensively in professional service firms • “The technique is most useful for those people in an organization who must write long analytical documents, on the basis of which other people must make decisions.”
  28. 28. Things Are Better, But More Improvement Is Needed 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Much worse Worse About the same Better Much better Source: NewMR “Quality of Market Research Reports” survey, March 2019, “Compared to two years ago, do you think the quality of reports now is …?” Report Receivers / Users Report Creators / Writers
  29. 29. LESS IS MORE 1. Clients are not happy! 2. Reports are too long and lack a solution focus. 3. Concise, synthesized reports will improve client satisfaction.
  30. 30. Q & A Creating Better Research Reports Neil Gains neil@tapestry.works Mike Sherman Mike@MikeSherman.net Ray Poynter
  31. 31. NewMR 2019 Sponsors Communication Gold Silver Creating Better Research Reports

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