MR Heretic Isn’t All Gloom and Doom: Some Lessons on Qualitative Research From the Masked Cynic

Not every industry has its very own masked cynic — but we do! Followers of the market research industry online have likely come across the MR Heretic, who posts his (or is it her? or its?!) complaints about the market research industry over at the Market Research Death Watch blog. But before you waste too much time rolling your eyes (It’s OK — we spent several hours doing so), know that the MR Heretic actually makes some valid points. It’s not ALL “the end is near” and “market researchers are stupid.”

The shrouded cynic “sat down” recently with Tom Anderson of Next Gen Market Research for an “EXCLUSIVE” interview. Once you get past the feeling of “This is ridiculous…why is there such thing as the MR Heretic?” and “Is Tom just sitting there with a mirror in his hand?” there are a few good takeaways for those of you in the qualitative research industry. Such as:

  • One of the first pet peeves mentioned by the MR Heretic is that research companies have stopped (or never did?) treat respondents like human beings. We think that’s a touch dramatic, but it serves as a good reminder nevertheless: Treat your respondents well, respect what they say and appreciate the time they’ve given you. Doing that can only result in better data and insight. He boils it down: “Create a better respondent experience and you will gain the keys to the data kingdom.”
  • When asked what he thinks the industry will look like in 10 years, he responded: “Think back to the music industry in the days of vinyl records, tapes and CDs; now fast-forward to iTunes…this is going to be a bit like that.” More online qualitative research, anyone?
One Comment
  1. The current industry drama associated with online research is getting on my last nerve! Learn it, use it, and get on with life! It’s a new tool, similar to advertising with social media in addition to TV, radio, and billboard.

    In my humble opinion the problem lies within the terminology, ‘online qualitative!’ An oxymoron? I wish creatives of our industry would innovate a new label! I use online when projects dictate, but it is NOT a replacement for qualitative insight. Both methodologies have a place in this ‘new’ world!

    If you are truly a talented qual market researcher, you’re extremely busy in this turbulent economy providing clients with rich data utilizing all the methodologies now available!

    Barbara Gassaway
    The Research Group

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