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Jim Garrity

Recent Posts

Super Bowl Squares: The Secrets to Winning Big

Posted by Jim Garrity

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Super Bowl 2014 XLVIIAnother Super Bowl weekend is upon us and it’s another year that my team isn’t in it. Worse yet a dear friend (and client) of mine forced me into an early-season wager pitting my poor team against her juggernaut Denver Broncos, to see who would have a better season. Unfortunately, the Pats are out of the Super Bowl, and I am out one lobster dinner. 

Luckily, I’ve got a cunning plan to recoup that loss and I’m happy to share it: your office's Super Bowl Squares. I can hear you already “Jim, Super Bowl Squares have all the strategy of the card game War!" But I’m here to explain how you can get an edge in this classic living-room lottery. So if you are looking to get a leg up on your best friend, 86 year old aunt, or 13 year old nephew you’ve stumbled onto the right blog. 

At CMB we pride ourselves on turning data into actionable decisions. So with that backdrop in mind:

You already know that some combinations are preferred over others (specifically combinations containing zeros, threes, and sevens).  But do you know how much better one combination is than another? Well, assuming you are in one of the pools that pays out quarterly here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 combinations that have a positive expectation. That is, if you had one of these combinations every year, you’d expect to win more money than you lost (of course that assumes you are playing for money, which obviously none of us are!). Anyway, here are the 28 combinations that you should feel pretty good about:

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

7-7

7-4/4-7

7-3/3-7

4-0/0-4

4-1/1-4

3-3

4-3/3-4

7-1/1-7

6-0/0-6

4-4

6-3/3-6

1-0/0-1

7-6/6-7

But what if you don’t have one of those combinations?  Well, this is where the “turning data into actionable decisions” part comes in…There are 5 combinations worth paying a substantial premium for. Yes, that’s right if you aren’t lucky enough to get a good combination you might consider taking action and finding someone who isn’t good at math (or hasn’t read this blog) and buying their combination. Below are the five combinations that each have an expectation of at least 4x. So if you can separate Aunt Millie or little Bobby from one of these squares for anything less than 4 times the per square price, you’ll be doing ok.

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

However, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land one of these top 5 combinations and you're watching the game with people who overvalue these combinations.  I’ve already told you that you should be willing to pay up to 4x for each, but what if you wanted to sell?  Since only 0-0 has an expectation greater than 7x, try to get someone to pay in excess of 7 times the buy-in for the others. For 0-0, get at least 9x.

Lastly, maybe you are one of those people who like to zig when others zag. Here are two combinations that have a close to even money expectation (actually around .8), but may seem to others to be far worse. Perhaps you could make someone an offer of 50 cents on the dollar for one of these:

3-1/1-3

4-6/6-4

Whatever you do, stay warm, enjoy the game, don’t eat too much, and NEVER drink and drive.  Good luck!

Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, he'll be watching the big game on Sunday...and DVRing Downton Abbey.

Topics: television, digital media and entertainment research

Market Researchers: What We've got Here is a Failure to Communicate

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Feb 06, 2013

The next time you attend a market research conference, listen very, very carefully. That dull buzzing sound you hear is the collective whine of hundreds of market researchers lamenting their inability to get a seat at the big kids' table or even just some recognition for all the value they provide.

 I know it hurts, but it’s time to do some soul searching and address the all too common ways market researchers get in their own way:

  • over-reliance on statistical significance

  • inability to put oneself in the business partner’s shoes

  • focusing on research objectives rather than business objectives

  • unwillingness to commit to a point-of-view regarding what the data means

I’m not the only one who’s picked up on these industry-wide weaknesses; witness the popularity of the mysterious Angry MR Client on Twitter and GreenBook.  There isn’t a silver bullet that will fix all of the issues facing our industry, but I am sure of this: we need to communicate better.

Over and over I hear people lament that researchers need to do a better job “telling stories.”  I agree completely, and it’s something we have prided ourselves on at CMB for the last 5-10 years.  Lucky for us, while there’s always been and always will be a “story” to tell, there are now so many more tools to help us elicit that actionable insight from the stream of data.  Say what you will about the rise of the quants but there’s much to be said about the art of data, and that can mean taking a visual approach to data—no, not a pie chart.

At CMB, we have graphic designers who, in addition to making our PowerPoint reports look great, have also designed some great infographics.  There are so many more mediums for storytelling available to us and it would be crazy not to take advantage of them.  Maybe there’ll always be an audience for the traditional PPT report/presentation, but I’ll bet there’s also an audience for an infographic, like the one below, highlighting key takeaways:

Banking infographic CMB

We’ve provided these for Customer Experience and Brand Tracking engagements and our clients really enjoy them. Easy to read visuals, like infographics, are a great way to socialize key takeaways across an organization where not everyone needs to go through a huge deck. 

We’ve also gotten great feedback on our Prezis – mini movies that add energy and emotion to the story.  Check out this one that we’ve dummied up to tell the story of a fictitious bank. 

ABC Bank Video from CMBinfo on Vimeo.

We’ve given these in advance of an annual presentation and the result has been increased attendance, improved engagement, and better solution-brainstorming. 

These are just two really simple examples of how you can take storytelling to the next level, engage your audience in the insight, and perhaps get that seat in the C-Suite.

Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services practice. He enjoys sweeping historical dramas and is working on his Downton Abbey infographic.

Stephanie Kimball, our Marketing Operations Manager, created the infographic and Prezi you see here. She gets her inspiration from many places, including the 3 million Redbox movies she rents every week.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, storytelling, consumer insights, Consumer Pulse

Super Bowl Squares: Increase Your Odds of Winning

Posted by Jim Garrity

Fri, Feb 01, 2013

As we prepare for Super Bowl XLVII we thought we'd share, once again, Jim Garrity's tips for picking Super Bowl Squares. Originally published 4/4/2011.

Super Bowl XLVII 011 resized 600Super Bowl weekend is upon us and if you are like most Americans you’ll gather with friends/family to watch the game on Sunday evening whether you have a rooting interest or not.  Maybe you’re a football fan, maybe you’re simply a sports fan, or maybe you’re a fan of commercials.  Even if you’re not a fan of any of it, there are always Super Bowl squares to keep your interest focused on the game.  Ah yes, the classic “gamble” of Super Bowl squares contains all the strategy of the card game War, truly leveling the playing field.  But maybe you’re looking increase your odds of winning…some way to get a leg up on your best friend, 86 year old aunt or 13 year old nephew.  Well, if you are one of THOSE people you’ve stumbled onto the right blog.  At CMB we pride ourselves on turning data into actionable decisions.  So with that backdrop in mind...

You already know that some combinations are preferred over others (specifically combinations containing zeros, threes, and sevens).  But do you know how much better one combination is than another?  Well, assuming you are in one the pools that pays out quarterly here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 combinations that have a positive expectation.  That is, if you had one of these combinations every year, you’d expect to win more money than you lost (of course that assumes you are playing for money, which obviously none of us are!).  Anyway, here are the 28 combinations that you should feel pretty good about:

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

7-7

7-4/4-7

7-3/3-7

4-0/0-4

4-1/1-4

3-3

4-3/3-4

7-1/1-7

6-0/0-6

4-4

6-3/3-6

1-0/0-1

7-6/6-7

But what if you don’t have one of those combinations?  Well, this is where the “turning data into actionable decisions” part comes in… There are 5 combinations worth paying a substantial premium for.  Yes, that’s right if you aren’t lucky enough to get a good combination you might consider taking action and finding someone who isn’t good at math (or hasn’t read this blog) and buying their combination.  Below are the five combinations that each have an expectation of at least 4x.  So if you can separate Aunt Millie or little Bobby from one of these squares for anything less than 4 times the per square price, you’ll be doing ok.

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

However, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land one of these top 5 combinations and you are watching the game with people who overvalue these combinations.  I’ve already told you that you should be willing to pay up to 4x for each, but what if you wanted to sell?  Since only 0-0 has an expectation greater than 7x, try to get someone to pay in excess of 7 times the buy-in for the others.  For 0-0, get at least 9x.

Lastly, maybe you are one of those people who like to zig when others zag.  Here are two combinations that have a close to even money expectation (actually around .8), but may seem to others to be far worse.   Perhaps you could make someone an offer of 50 cents on the dollar for one of these:

3-1/1-3

4-6/6-4

Whatever you do, stay warm, enjoy the game, don’t eat too much, and NEVER drink and drive.  Good luck!

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and is getting ready to make Aunt Millie an offer she can’t refuse…unless of course she reads this blog post

Topics: television, digital media and entertainment research

Bank Approval: What Matters to Customers

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Jul 11, 2012

If you believe the news you might imagine Americans have a pretty low opinion of bankers. It seems cut and dried; the recession laid bare a lot of anger over banks’ role in the economy’s crash.  But new insights from our Consumer Pulse research on banking approval, suggest bank customers’ views are a bit more balanced. We asked over 1,400 bank and credit union customers how they felt about their primary bank and the industry as a whole.  

We found that while it’s true that most Americans aren’t happy with the banking industry they are pretty happy with their own banks. This kind of discrepancy isn’t shocking or unusual— Congress has abysmal approval ratings, but people tend to rank their own representatives quite highly, clearly personal experience counts for a great deal.  

CMB bank approval
When we looked at customers' banking approval and experience we found some things worth noting:  

  • Approval ratings vary by bank type. Community banks and credit unions were rated more highly than regional and large national banks, with credit union customers giving high marks to many elements of their banking experience, from fees and rates to commitment to the community and remote banking offerings. In fact 85% of credit union customers rated the value they got from their bank as “excellent.”

  • As for what doesn’t appear to impact approval ratings, those with household incomes under 50k gave just slightly higher approval (51%) to their banks, compared to those making 100k or more (47%).

  • Just 9% of customers who disapprove of their banks (and 2% of all respondents) say they’re actively looking for a new bank, but willingness to make the switch also varies by bank type. A full 22% of regional bank customers who disapprove of their bank say they are actively looking for a new bank, versus only 7% of large bank customers. One explanation for this disparity is that while large banks are known for accessibility and product breadth, and small banks are recognized for personal service and lower fees; regional banks are often chosen for their proximity. And as we’ve seen in our previous Consumer Pulse research, increasingly that is not enough.

  •  Wondering why customers so displeased with their bank, end up staying? Over half (54%) agree switching banks is a hassle.

Amidst the real anger and displeasure aimed at banks and the banking industry as a whole, the real message may be: don’t underestimate the power of the customer’s banking experience. Fewer than one in five of respondents agreed that “all banks are pretty much the same.” This is good news for banks who can take the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and from a terrible industry reputation.

Download The Future of the full-Service bank Branch here.CMB Banking Consumer Pulse

Posted by Jim Garrity, Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services    practice. He isn't looking to switch banks anytime soon.

Topics: financial services research, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty

Are Full-Service Branches Here to Stay? Don't Bank on it.

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Jun 13, 2012

Bank Research CMBThirty years ago, the ATM revolutionized banking convenience by letting customers conduct their business at any time, and without stepping foot in a branch— there are now several generations who can’t remember a time before you could just “hit the machine.”  But all that automation meant fewer bank customers face to face with bank reps and the products they sell. Decades later, rising cost pressures, new regulations, consumer desire for added convenience, and diminishing returns on full-service bank branches have created an economic challenge for banks.

To understand the impact of these changes, through our Consumer Pulse we explored customer perspectives on bank convenience, fees, and branch alternatives. We found what bank customers say they value, doesn’t necessarily match up with what they’re actually doing.  We asked people how important having a branch nearby was to their sense of banking convenience—most (67%) reported it was “very important.”  Taken by itself this isn’t a shocking statistic; we know bank customers appreciate personal service and convenience. But asked how often they actually go to a bank (not an ATM—a full-service branch) nearly half (45%) go fewer than 5 times per year.   

What explains this disconnect between what consumers say they need and what they actually use?  Online and mobile banking services mean customers can conduct most transactions from the comfort of their home or office. Although a trip to the local branch is often unnecessary when you can check your balance, transfer funds, or make payments from your phone, customers find full-service branches appealing. Still, fond memories may not be enough to keep branches, as customers know them, open.  

For the first time in over a decade, banks are closing branches faster than they’re opening them, and banks are looking to alternatives with lower overhead and operating costs. To understand what alternatives were most and least appealing, we asked respondents to participate in a trade-off exercise to evaluate new banking concepts. When forced to choose, customers were willing to give up their local branches rather than see fees rise. These findings suggest branch proximity, while still important to many, is not as critical to a convenient banking experience as it might have been in the past.

One of the alternative banking concepts we tested was the” teller-less” branch. The teller-less branch is largely automated, but sales professionals are available to discuss bank products, and customer representatives are available by phone. In one of the more surprising findings, customers said they would rather have their local branch close altogether than have it replaced with a teller-less branch. This finding, while counter-intuitive, is telling—banks will need to educate their customers on how new banking concepts will affect and benefit them.

While the full-service bank branch may become a thing of the past, banking convenience and service are as relevant to today’s bank customers as ever—even as the modes of service change.

Banking research CMB Consumer PulseDownload the full report: The Future of the full-Service bank Branch here.

Posted by Jim Garrity, Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services practice. He hasn’t stepped foot in his bank branch in months.

Topics: financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse

How Vanguard is Giving Traditional Marketing a Jolt

Posted by Jim Garrity

Fri, Mar 30, 2012

Vanguard at cost cafe CMBImagine a company whose principle mission is to treat clients fairly, one that operates, not at low-cost but “at-cost,” and is beholden only to its clients—not Wall Street or wealthy shareholders. At a time when a social movement, based largely on deep displeasure with the financial industry, has exploded across the country, these are very attractive attributes.

Vanguard, doesn’t need to imagine that company, it’s been operating as a client-owned investment management company since 1975. But, to spread the word about their offerings and what differentiates them from other firms, they needed to get creative. TV, print, and social media all have their place, but explaining the “at-cost” concept isn’t easy to do in a static ad or 140 character tweet.  Moreover, when you are owned by your clients, spending tens of millions of dollars on an expensive TV campaign runs counter to your mission.  And so the Vanguard At-Cost Café was born, a traveling coffee truck, serving investment information, and coffee at-cost…for 28 cents!

Today, I grabbed 84 cents and two of my colleagues to check out the Café for myself. Aside from the almost irresistible allure of 28 cent coffee, the At-Cost Café is an excellent example of how a company can make an impression when so many of us have become expert at tuning out ads. Vanguard did this by connecting one of the most appealing, but least understood, aspects of their company to a concrete, easily grasped concept like really, really cheap coffee.  In addition to the coffee, Vanguard had baristas, video monitors, QR codes, and printed materials readily available to further enlighten the many thankful coffee drinkers about the company, its values, and its financial offerings in more detail.

The At-Cost Café is a success because it feels like much more than a marketing gimmick.  As the company described the effort, the Café is: "...a part of Vanguard’s ongoing effort to educate investors on the impact of investment costs, the At-Cost Café will be touring select cities to demonstrate how investors can save thousands of dollars simply by paying attention to the price tag on their investments." From my perspective Vanguard accomplished this mission and raised the bar  for connecting with customers and prospects by being innovative, straightforward, and informative—that and 28 cents will get you way more than a cup of coffee!

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim Garrity is VP of CMB's Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, enjoys a reasonably priced cup of coffee, and always makes a point to ask "What Would the Dowager Countess Do?"

Topics: marketing strategy

Super Bowl Squares: Increase Your Odds of Winning (Reposted)

Posted by Jim Garrity

Fri, Feb 03, 2012

As we prepare for Super Bowl XLVI we thought we'd share, once again, Jim Garrity's tips for picking Super Bowl Squares. Originally published 4/4/2011.

2
Super Bowl XLVISuper Bowl weekend is upon us and if you are like most Americans you’ll gather with friends/family to watch the game on Sunday evening whether you have a rooting interest or not.  Maybe you’re a football fan, maybe you’re simply a sports fan, or maybe you’re a fan of commercials.  Even if you’re not a fan of any of it, there are always Super Bowl squares to keep your interest focused on the game.  Ah yes, the classic “gamble” of Super Bowl squares contains all the strategy of the card game War, truly leveling the playing field.  But maybe you’re looking increase your odds of winning…some way to get a leg up on your best friend, 86 year old aunt or 13 year old nephew.  Well, if you are one of THOSE people you’ve stumbled onto the right blog.  At CMB we pride ourselves on turning data into actionable decisions.  So with that backdrop in mind...

You already know that some combinations are preferred over others (specifically combinations containing zeros, threes, and sevens).  But do you know how much better one combination is than another?  Well, assuming you are in one the pools that pays out quarterly here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 combinations that have a positive expectation.  That is, if you had one of these combinations every year, you’d expect to win more money than you lost (of course that assumes you are playing for money, which obviously none of us are!).  Anyway, here are the 28 combinations that you should feel pretty good about:

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

7-7

7-4/4-7

7-3/3-7

4-0/0-4

4-1/1-4

3-3

4-3/3-4

7-1/1-7

6-0/0-6

4-4

6-3/3-6

1-0/0-1

7-6/6-7

But what if you don’t have one of those combinations?  Well, this is where the “turning data into actionable decisions” part comes in… There are 5 combinations worth paying a substantial premium for.  Yes, that’s right if you aren’t lucky enough to get a good combination you might consider taking action and finding someone who isn’t good at math (or hasn’t read this blog) and buying their combination.  Below are the five combinations that each have an expectation of at least 4x.  So if you can separate Aunt Millie or little Bobby from one of these squares for anything less than 4 times the per square price, you’ll be doing ok.

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

However, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land one of these top 5 combinations and you are watching the game with people who overvalue these combinations.  I’ve already told you that you should be willing to pay up to 4x for each, but what if you wanted to sell?  Since only 0-0 has an expectation greater than 7x, try to get someone to pay in excess of 7 times the buy-in for the others.  For 0-0, get at least 9x.

Lastly, maybe you are one of those people who like to zig when others zag.  Here are two combinations that have a close to even money expectation (actually around .8), but may seem to others to be far worse.   Perhaps you could make someone an offer of 50 cents on the dollar for one of these:

3-1/1-3

4-6/6-4

Whatever you do, stay warm, enjoy the game, don’t eat too much, and NEVER drink and drive.  Good luck!

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and is getting ready to make Aunt Millie an offer she can’t refuse…unless of course she reads this blog post

Topics: television, digital media and entertainment research

Banks Can and Must Allay Mobile Banking Users' Fears

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Oct 05, 2011

mobile bankingThis summer, New Corp’s alleged hacking of celebrity and crime victims’ mobile phones ignited a fire storm around mobile security. Closer to home, the dark side of online convenience wasn’t news to the millions of customers who’ve had their passwords, email, social media accounts, and credit card information hacked. What has received less attention in the U.S. are the privacy issues and risks that stem from burgeoning mobile usage, particularly mobile banking. This spring CMB along with iModerate asked 1,461 Americans over the age of 18 to share their mobile banking habits; the findings reveal consumers’ concerns about mobile privacy.

Data breaches are uncomfortably common, with over 13 million customers falling victim in 2011 as of September. While having an email account compromised may be frustrating, time-consuming, and embarrassing, the thought of financial information in the hands of hackers is the stuff of nightmares.  The vast majority of major banks offer the convenience of online banking, and the growth of smartphone ownership has made mobile banking increasingly popular. According to CMB, over half (52%) of smartphone owners use their device for banking activities including checking account balances, transferring funds, or purchasing stock. Nearly 68% of those under 35 use mobile banking compared with 41% between the ages of 35 and 49, and only a quarter of those over 65. The difference in mobile phone usage by age is consistent with lower use overall by older smartphone owners, who are less likely to take advantage of the array of mobile capabilities than younger users. 

Mobile bankers and non-mobile bankers alike indicate feeling more concern (54%) over personal privacy when using smartphone “apps” for banking than when using a personal computer.  The feeling is unsurprisingly more pronounced among non-mobile banking smartphone owners. A look at motivations behind the lack of use reveals real concerns about mobile privacy and security from smartphone users across the board. As one respondent noted:  “I do not want to do any banking on my phone, at all. Too many security risks…Lose my phone and all my info is cached…phones are easy to access and mine data out of,” Female, 30-34.

Forty-seven percent of smartphone users, who did not use their phone for mobile banking, expressed concerns about privacy (having location tracked by mobile devices, or wireless carriers). Nearly the same percentage (49%) noted security concerns (identity theft, malware, viruses) as reasons not to bank with their phone. Privacy and security concerns aside, half of non-mobile bankers said they preferred to do their banking in person or online. Said one respondent, “I am comfortable with my desktop, my firewall and security system, etc. Plus, in general, I am more productive and faster on the desktop,” Female, 55-59.

The fear of security and privacy breaches is powerful, 71% of smartphone users who don’t use mobile banking say they are highly unlikely to start within the next six months, 86% say they’re unlikely to begin investing on their device. But there is a bright spot for mobile app designers: of non-smartphone owners who plan to buy a device in the next 6 months, nearly 40% said they’d be “highly likely” to use their phone for banking.

So what is the takeaway for the banking and mobile industries?  For some, concerns over security and privacy may always trump the ease and convenience of new platforms and devices; banks and mobile providers must still actively address the reasonable privacy and security concerns of their customers to establish trust among those who may be wary. Banks who can deliver new product and service bundles that satisfy these very real concerns about mobile security will gain the trust, and ensure the growth, of their mobile banking customer base.

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim Garrity is VP of CMB's Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and loves the convenience of banking.

mobile-banking-icon-small

 

Download our recent Consumer Pulse report: A Consumer Perspective on Mobile Banking. It looks at how smartphone and tablet owners are conducting mobile banking and transactions on their mobile device.

Topics: financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse

Why Banks Should Give Away FREE iPhones, Today

Posted by Jim Garrity

Thu, Jul 14, 2011

describe the imageLast week we released our latest CMB Consumer Pulse study shedding light on consumers’ perspective around mobile banking. The most interesting finding to me is around where the new growth will come from in this market and it’s not from current smartphone owners.

Among those who have a smartphone, but aren’t conducting mobile banking…they aren’t likely to start anytime soon –mainly due to security concerns or the fact that they just don’t value the convenience. On the other hand, of those likely to buy a smartphone, many (about two in five) are likely to begin mobile banking once the phone is in their hands. 

The reality is mobile banking among current smartphone owners has essentially plateaued.  For the most part, people with experience using these devices have already made up their minds.  Is it possible to convince them otherwise?  Maybe, but why not go for those consumers who are ready and willing, just not able, unless of course banks give them to tools they need…

There’s a group out there that’s ready to bank on their smartphones in the very near future – no questions asked.  Given how affordable smartphones have become (you’ve seen the Apple commercials for the $50 iPhone 3GS), it’s worth considering partnered promotions to draw new smartphone buyers to the bank.  

Instead of focusing on the smartphone/tablet owners who have just not bought in to mobile banking, why not go for the lower hanging fruit and focus on those that have bought in but need the technology to make it happen?

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim Garrity is VP of CMB's Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and loves the convenience of banking.


mobile-banking-icon-small

 

Download our recent Consumer Pulse report: A Consumer Perspective on Mobile Banking. It looks at how smartphone and tablet owners are conducting mobile banking and transactions on their mobile device.


Topics: financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse

Becoming a Trusted Internal Partner Through Clear, Concise, and Passionate Communication

Posted by Jim Garrity

Fri, Apr 08, 2011

Whether it’s during a breakout session at one of the many great market research conferences that I get to attend or during one-on-one discussions with my clients, I hear a lot of the same themes about the role of market research within client organizations.  Some of the most common themes are:

How do I raise the perception of market research in my company?

How do I ensure that my hard work is used by my internal clients?

How do I make sure that my clients come to my team first with their research needs?

In my view, the answer is simple: become a trusted partner.  But that begs the question, doesn’t it?  How do we, as researchers, elevate ourselves to “trusted partner” status?  First, I think we need to do a better job of understanding what our end clients are really looking for.  Often, what that means is recognizing that what is important to us may not be important to them. 

For example:

Our end clients want answers…we need data

Our end clients want answers …we need statistically reliable samples

Our end clients want answers …we need representative populations

Our end clients want answers …we need a comprehensive market assessment OR a multi-source measurement program OR an in-depth needs analysis

Are you sensing a pattern here?  Certainly our needs are important, but the question is “are they important to our end clients?”  Probably not.  Now, I’m not suggesting that we stop conducting statistically reliable, representative, and comprehensive studies, but I do think that we need to start delivering the findings thereof in more concise, straight forward ways.  I’m suggesting that we stop hiding behind mountains of data, caveats, qualifiers, and statistical significance testing.  Instead, we need to provide clear answers to complex questions.  That’s how we can become trusted partners. 

 

Consider a recent TED presentation that I came across.  According to Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution.   

“In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings.” I think you’ll agree. Here, his argument is less important than the way he presents the material.  While I don’t anticipate that any of us will bring household appliances to upcoming presentations in the future, I do think there is a lot we can learn about how to showcase our research.

  Specifically, I noted the importance of:

  • Simple visuals
  • Passion/excitement
  • Personalizing the story
  • Simplifying the data to its most relevant pieces (even if that means losing some of the nuance)
  • Explaining why the findings matter
  • Recommending what should happen next

OK, so I do realize that Hans Rosling has set the bar high.  But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to incorporate as many of his good habits into our presentations as possible.  In so doing, I think we’ll become the trusted partners we know we can and should be.

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and is looking forward to co-presenting at The Market Research Event in November. (The pressures on Jim)

Topics: storytelling, business decisions, quantitative research