Don’t Buy The Coffin Just Yet
It seems like everyday I see another article published about the inevitable death of market research or how the research industry is failing to adapt. I recently read an article by Allen DeCotiis titled “Is Research Dead?” Contrary to what I thought this article would be about, it was really laughing at people who think this is the case. Two of the most common concerns in articles about the proposed “death of market research” are that self-serve tools are eating away at the growth of the industry and that the industry is currently failing to provide tools with fast response and simple interpretation at a low price point. Today we’re going to address those concerns and look at two principles that have stood the test of time.
It’s the Artist, Not the Instrument
Self-serve tools have drawbacks but they’re not nessessarily the tool itself. Although these self-serve tools may not have all the bells and whistles, the main concern is with user-error. Think of a guitar. If you hand a top-of-the-line guitar to someone who has never played guitar before, the guitar won’t to be able to pick up the slack and make things sound good. On the contrary, if you hand a cheap guitar to Jimi Hendrix, I bet he could make the guitar sing.
The point being the problem is not with the tools but with who’s using it. More specifically, the problem is with the lack of knowledge in the intricacies of who to talk to, what to ask and how to analyze data. As people experiment with using self-serve tools, they won’t be able to ignore the value of a real research professional. Remember, the guitar is singing because of the artist, not nessessarily the instrument.
Fast, Good, or Cheap. Pick 2
As the old adage goes, clients have 3 options: fast, good, or cheap. However, they can only pick 2. Want good and fast? Expect a hefty price tag. Want good and cheap? Don’t expect it anytime soon. Want fast and cheap? Expect an inferior product.
The same principal applies in the research industry. Want real-time analytics and insightful analysis of the data? Expect a hefty price tag. Want insightful analysis of the data and cheap? Don’t expect real-time analytics. Want real-time analytics and cheap? Expect lousy or inaccurate insights.
In one of his live stand-up shows, Comedian Jim Gafigan once made fun of how our culture is used to everything being in “real-time”. The bit is set at a fine restaurant and went something like this….
Waiter – “Are you ready to order? What shall I get for you?”
Jim Gafigan – “I’ll have the cheeseburger…and where is it?”
I see the trend pushing for real-time analytics across the industry but just because we’re not providing all three (fast, good, and cheap) doesn’t mean our industry is dying.