In market research, we are a dedicated bunch. Passionate about insights, hot on methodologies. Keen to make a real business impact.

But we’re human too. We like to try cool new things. We want to be a hero to our organization. We want to do something different from those that went before…

Put these things together and might I suggest, there is a tendency perhaps to shoot for research that is, ahem, a bit too good.

Too good? What on earth are you talking about?

Here’s my point. The pace of business gets faster and faster. Certainly, in CPG, resources are not going up. Reality is that fewer people are doing more work.  The demands get greater and greater.

Something has to give. In this world, we can’t chase perfect research, and we have to accept that (just) good data needs to do the job for us.

I sat in on a presentation by Zappi at Quirks Brooklyn provocatively challenging us to scrap the research brief and “systematize” regular research projects like ad and product testing. What they really hit on though was that insights people should spend more time on the “so what” than just the research doing. And (I guess) that business values speed over depth.

That’s where a light went on for me. As a shopper research provider, we need to do more than provide great data. We need to make it simple, easy, and fast *

At the CMA conference in Dallas last week there was a great presentation by Yelena Idelchik at Reckitt Benckiser who said: “use all the days your agencies offer you as add ons to any project – they are the best ‘free’ support you can ask for”. I can only endorse this – we love to do MORE work for clients – to make sure our data really gets used.

But back to my main point. “Perfect” is to commission large scale customized bottom-up designed projects with multiple methodologies and robust samples, all carefully integrated to weave (we hope) surprising outcomes. But in the world of shopper research, what’s the next best thing if this simply isn’t a feasible budget or time-wise? Well, taking a leaf from the examples above, why not see what shopper insights are already out there and what expertise comes attached to it that you can get for a fraction of the cost.

Good. Not perfect. Perhaps that’s more than sufficient?

* Good news, its what we built our system to do