There’s been the odd occasion over the last few years when I’ve felt like I’ve been researching something in order to get that box ticked on the client’s project plan, rather than to use fresh insight to move things forward.
There’s simply no point in spending money on research if the answer is staring you in the face. Good client-side marketeers should know instinctively if something is off-brand or if a piece of PoS is so badly sited that it can’t be seen by customers. That’s your job and your call, you shouldn’t need someone to ask a representative sample of your target audience and write a report to tell you.
But I’m increasingly getting the feeling that many client side marketeers no-longer have the power or position internally to say “hang on a minute, this isn’t right”. The short-term nature of marketing roles, jobsworth red tape, increasing workload due to redundancies and the unstable job market means (I suspect) that some clients might feel its better to keep quiet and hope the end results are OK than risk speaking out of turn with their fingers crossed for an improved end result. And in some client companies it seems that you can’t speak out without having some research to back you up…
Which is good news for research providers but rubbish news for anyone who wishes their clients were given free rein to do their job properly.
cartoon © Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist