AMA Research Conference: Challenging Researchers to Be BOLD

Day 1:  Direct from the AMA Marketing Research Conference

Market researchers and research agencies are being challenged to step out of their “research” roles and step up to being a catalyst for transformation in their organizations.

Words used this morning to describe the best “researcher” have been:

  • Bold researcher
  • Game changer
  • Creating business impact
  • Provoking transformation
  • Focus on business outcomes, not research outcomes

End users are tired of researchers who are good at supplying data but don’t impact the business. Gayle Lloyd of Batesville Casket Company says  69% of executives want a researcher who is a business partner. In that same survey, 29% said they had one.  Researchers and agencies are “head down” in data and not “heads up” addressing transformational business issues. She notes that the corporate researcher should be an “oracle” within the company as a source of knowledge and insights, not just a databank.

It seems to me that this transition is difficult and will require a different personality type. For most researchers, the functional research process is easy and comfortable. It is the rare researcher who can accept Gayle Lloyd’s challenge to be a “Bold Researcher” and become a true asset to the decision-making for strategic initiatives in an organization. As an industry we will need to change how we hire, motivate and compensate the research team.

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