Research without an Audience Is like a Fish without Sunshine
Research without an audience, like the title of this article, is ridiculous. By the time you figure out if the research makes any sense – if it is even true – you realize perhaps that nobody may really care. If research is not done for somebody to answer critical questions they have, then there is little reason to do it. It is unfortunate that much research today is done simply for the sake of research.
One reason that research often has no audience is that market research professionals are sometimes too isolated. They operate like accountants or IT programmers who fill orders and data requests. They do not interact enough with the marketing teams and other business professionals who could really use their help solving problems and answering key questions. This is especially true on the vendor side, where many spend their time interacting with clients who are, themselves, research professionals.
Our approach at Versta Research is the opposite. We see it as vital to operate beyond the confines of our technical expertise, because our expertise only matters if it is driven by, understood, and then put to use by our marketing and business colleagues.
To this end, I am delighted to have been recently appointed to the Board of the American Marketing Association (AMA) Chicago Chapter, serving as Director of Market Research. Versta Research will be providing strategic direction for the AMA’s programming and market research, and lending research insights for other activities, including the chapter’s consumer and B2B marketing programs. It is a natural extension of our approach to market research, which involves communicating with the broadest possible spectrum of business and marketing professionals. We are excited about having a formal role in an organization of 30,000 professional marketers (the AMA), most of whom are not focused on research.
While it is important for us to be actively involved in associations that focus exclusively on market research, like the Market Research Association (this is where we learn from each other and push the frontiers of new methods, technologies, and best practices) it is even more critical for us to be involved with professionals who need and use market research. They are the reason we exist. It is when researchers stop listening and learning from these groups that their research starts becoming an end in itself that too often verges on the ridiculous.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.