Greenbook has just published the latest edition of the GRIT Report. The study, now in its 11th year and based on the opinions of 1,400+ practitioners, monitors trends in the market research industry.
The report is a real wake-up call for market research agencies. Sadly only a select few seem to be listening.
In 2009 the GRIT report concluded that: “Buyers…increasingly seek out suppliers who understand the intricacies of their particular business, and who deliver strategic insight rather than boring 100-page decks full of data”. Five years on, that’s still the case. When describing the ideal research project clients cite three defining features:
- Analysis is rigorous and there’s a clear storyline
- There’s a good connection with marketers (i.e. the research team engage well with them)
- It changes the attitude and decisions of marketing executives
And when asked what qualities are important to them in a research agency, research users put three things at the top of their list:
- Knowledgeable staff (69% rate as ‘very important’)
- Listen well and understand needs (72%)
- High quality analysis (64%)
Note this. Not once has ‘research’ been mentioned. Indeed only 14% of clients say ‘using sophisticated research techniques’ is very important. No, it’s all about what an agency can do with the research – how their people interpret it, align it to business goals and engage with those using it. And it’s about the outcome of these actions – positive business change. Or as the 2014 GRIT report says “we need to steal a few plays from the consultancy industry”.