Of Lust and Tracking Studies
Today, an industry colleague (another owner of a market research firm) said to me, “We all lust after those big tracking studies.” For most market research firms, tracking studies are attractive because they involve big samples, multiple ongoing deliverables, and multi-year commitments, all of which means predictable, ongoing (and usually substantial) revenue.
At Versta Research, we lust after them for a different reason: they are the true test of whether our key personnel can really add value and insight to the work that we do. How do you take something routine and predictable, and turn it into an effort that delivers an “Aha” every week? Here’s how we do it:
- We find smart, methodologically-rigorous, and business-savvy associates to run the study instead of “capable” research people who are tracking-study-care-takers.
- We clear off our desks and close our doors and examine the data for new angles and insights with every deliverable.
- We look at the data collection process for ways to streamline so that our time is spent on thinking rather than compiling data and putting numbers into tables and charts.
- We advise you on whether the money spent is worth the insight gained, and if collecting and tabulating data is your only goal, whether there are better ways to automate and/or bring the process in-house.
Too often the smartest people avoid tracking studies because they can be boring. What you need, however, is smart people who are committed and passionate about adding significant value to every project they do for you. There is nothing boring about finding the story in your data and helping you communicate it to your managers or internal clients. That is the challenge of tracking studies that we love.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.