Market research may have an image problem. From clients who misunderstand what research is for, to those who think they can do it better themselves, market researchers must contend with a host of challenges.
And like many other disciplines, market research is increasingly finding itself on a list of expendable items as companies seek to deal with a floundering economy.
But has the market research industry been the author of its own misfortune and does it need to improve how it is perceived?
Marketing and communications director at shopping venue Liverpool ONE, Donna Howitt, works with a number of trusted research partners, but receives many pitches from market research agencies that fail to impress. Basic factors such as a lack of sector knowledge can quickly become apparent.
“It’s one thing being able to project that you have the academic knowledge and the right approach to research,” she says. “It’s another pitching it in the right way. Agencies and partners need to demonstrate a real understanding of the client’s industry.”
Liverpool ONE has cut back on research during the coronavirus pandemic, partly for budgetary reasons and partly because during periods of lockdown some stores have been closed. The situation encouraged the marketing team to examine the data they gather closely and look more widely for knowledge.