Here are some thoughts well-worth passing along, from Steve Seiferheld, Director of Market Research for the U.S. Division of tobacco-products company Swedish Match. They’re from a recent edition of Quirk’s Media’s ongoing Q&A feature, “Conversations with Corporate Researchers.”
What stands out is Steve’s willingness to call out complacency and inertia in the market research industry with a clear, strong voice. He’s rightfully adamant about the need for insights professionals to bolster their self-confidence about their importance to their organizations. To which we would add that confidence starts with an unshakeable self-assurance that the technological tools and data sources you’re using are state-of-the-art.
A lack of confidence in your tools and the data you've obtained with them is likely to color your presentations to decision-making stakeholders. Conversely, smart, specific recommendations grounded in confidence that your data is state-of-the-art will go a long way toward earning you a respected spot at the decision-making table.
Take it away, Steve Seiferheld – and thanks!
- “We continue to focus on the same tired, in-the-weeds issues without being able to construct a simple story on how to move a business forward. Twenty-five years ago we were worrying about how to weed out bad survey respondents. Today, we are worrying about how to weed out bad survey respondents. Why?”
- “…let your objectives drive your methodology, and never vice versa. I choose the methodology that will make it easiest for my target audience to provide the type of feedback I need.”
- “Nobody seems willing to point out how we are our own enemy. Our industry needs voices to steer us toward being leaders in our organizations. Swedish Match values me because when I present, my key findings tell people what to do. Other researchers hurt our industry by worrying more about Likert scales and eye-tracking than how to acquire more customers and improve profits.”
- “Repeatedly I encounter corporate researchers who see themselves as subservient to marketing, sales and other functions. We cannot expect progress until researchers shed that mentality. My role is just as important as anyone else’s. I understand the consumer better than anyone else in my organization and understanding the consumer is vital to ensuring a company’s success.”