Are you the internal head of consumer insights or marketing research? The one responsible for conducting (or commissioning) customer facing surveys, focus groups, and usability tests? The professional that takes research findings and insights and turns them into actionable next steps and easily digestible results? This senior researcher role takes guts and confidence, it’s a role that I have had in the past and in all honesty loved. You are responsible for being that open, honest, and sometimes blunt voice of the consumer to help guide and advise your internal peers.
These colleagues may be your friends, you may be watching them work insane hours in preparation for a new product launch, a new marketing or advertising campaign, or even invent and innovate from concept to product design. You feel for them and all of their amazing efforts and like any friend you want them to succeed. As the team working on and creating these products and campaigns, they intrinsically must believe in them. They are not just drinking the Kool-Aid, they are actually the ones making and selling it.
But then, there’s your actual job right? You get called in to test these products, campaigns, and concepts to find out what the target market actually thinks, feels, and understands about all of these efforts. Here’s where your role becomes a challenge and takes the guts and confidence that I referred to. You must remain true to your role, honest in your delivery, and direct in your response. If the product works or has working elements state it. If there are “challenges” with the item being tested, stand up and say that too.
Research needs to advocate for and be the honest voice of the consumer. If you invest the company’s money in conducting this research in order to help and advise, then sitting on data or sugar coating negative feedback is a complete waste of time and resources. You, as the leader of insights and research have a duty to help the brand or marketing teams refine and optimize their offerings so that they have the best chance of success and go into their launch with their eyes wide open to the market reality.
Then, and only then, can you go to happy hour with them and joke about politics, sports scandals, and the latest and greatest television shows.. Want to know what I think? How I’d handle a sticky situation that you may have found yourself in? Reach out, anytime!
See you in groups!