New Year’s Research Resolutions
As we begin the New Year 2013 (and as Versta Research enters its fifth year in business!) my colleagues and I are thinking less about the hottest trends that dazzle, and more about a few rock-solid resolutions for the market research industry that would make research more valuable, relevant, and useful compared to last year, last month, or the last project just completed.
Here is our list, along with a tip for succeeding with each:
1. Tell a story with the data. Data never speak for themselves. So it is up to us to find the story that matters and to communicate it in a way that clients and managers can grasp and use. Tip for success: Read Versta Research’s how-to guide for turning data into stories.
2. Build better charts. That means reviewing the basics of clear, compelling, and elegant chart design and exploring new types of data visualization that turn data into stories. Tip for success: Read Edward Tufte’s books on data visualization and read the New York Times for compelling graphical experiments.
3. Add unexpected value. Every research effort demands new efforts to find better and more useful answers to questions, ideally to the surprise and delight of everyone involved in the research. Tip for success: Find points of comparison (U.S. Census data is awesome), and build them into the analysis so that clients and managers can interpret findings within a broader context.
4. Explore new tools. Aggressive training never ends, because the methods, tools, and knowledge base that drives research advances much quicker than our professors in graduate school ever imagined. Tip for success: Join a high-level discussion group of colleagues (and avoid the ones with people who are looking for business) who continually vet methods, new data collection techniques, and other critical topics in research.
5. Measure what matters. And cut all the rest. Market research can be incredibly powerful, but there are too many dumb surveys. Do smarter research, measure what matters, and focus on the questions that need to be answered. Tip for success: read Versta Research’s white paper, The Art of Asking Questions.
Want to make 2013 a smashing research success? Join us in pushing the boundaries of what market research can deliver. Resolutions like these will help all of us develop more valuable, relevant, and useful research than ever before.
–Joe Hopper, Ph.D.