Thursday, QRCA hosted their biennial QRCA Symposium featuring researchers and their clients presenting actual research projects, complete with impact on the business. It was a great “feel good” day for consultants who sometimes wonder if their work makes much of a difference at the decision-makers level.
The common thread running through the presentations was the need to develop the customer’s story. From Patricia Martin’s story about the Renaissance Generation to AARPs presentation on reaching the Millennial Generation, presenters focused on the importance of the story. To fully engage their customers, marketers must understand them holistically. They must understand their “story,” not just their impression of the product.
Qualitative researchers and qualitative techniques are uniquely qualified to explore and reveal the customer’s story. We have more qualitative techniques than ever before. Presenters uncovered stories using traditional focus group methodologies and online qualitative research methodologies. The techniques are simply tools that we match to the need to provide the richest and most revealing stories.
Out of the story come the deep insights into the “why.” In conference after conference, research buyers say they want insights. They want more than just regurgitation of the facts or the research events. They want insights that inform decisions. These insights don’t come from a cursory glance; they come from a focused experience that reveals the customer’s story with all the twists, turns and inconsistencies that makes us human.
The 2011 QRCA Symposium told a lot of stories that informed a lot of decisions that improved a lot of products/services that improved a lot of lives. It was a good day.