The New Normal #2 – if it moves, research it

So, after looking at the New Normal of measuring client’s bravery and budget we move on to part two – attitudes towards market research.

Desk research tools like TGI and Mintel are becoming increasingly unhelpful as we slide deeper into this recession.  Data that was collected twelve or eighteen months ago in happier economic times about spending patterns or consumer attitudes is at best unreliable and at worst downright misleading.

Which means that the role of primary research is becoming increasingly important.  I’m not basing this on any hard data, but it seems to me that research as a specialism does seem to be surviving the recession rather nicely.  Want to prove your campaign worked?  Measure awareness pre and post.  Want to understand how your target audience are defining value right now?  Do some groups.  Need to understand how the fixture is being browsed?  Accompanied shops.

In other words, want to prove to your boss that you made a rational, thought through decision based on robust data and intelligent analysis and that the resulting communication was entirely effective?  Call in the quallies and quanties.

The multinational clients and big brands who traditionally threw research at everything might be cutting back a bit, but the medium and smaller research buyers seem to be actually upping their spend when it comes to comms and NPD research in an effort to be sure they’re making the right decisions.

To be honest, I’m rather pleased about all this new-found ‘if it moves, research it’ attitude.  There’s a great quote in Jon Steel’s Truth, Lies, and Advertising from one of his clients:

“Without research, we are flying in the dark.  Not only are we in the dark, but we have no radio, no compass and no fuel gauge.  I don’t know about you, but I would hate to fly on that plane.”

cockpit radar

photo by flyforfun via flickr, CC applies

Part three, consumer values to follow soon…

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