marketing research

Leaders Drive Culture. Culture Drives People. People Drive Business.

The more our company grows, the more I realize how crucial culture is to our success.  We are in a service business.  As we grow, I personally interact with fewer and fewer of our clients on a regular basis.  So, how do I ensure that the people who do interact with our clients treat them as I would have treated them?  The answer is “culture.”

Leaders Drive Culture.  Culture is set by expectations and training, but mostly it is set by example and rewards.  Company leaders, especially the CEO, set culture.  What do they celebrate?  What do they value?  What do they punish?  How do they treat clients, vendors and employees?  What do they preach?  What are their actions (which speak louder than words)?  Finally, do they have a method for hiring people who not only fit the culture but can promote it?  Company leaders set the culture.  So, they must be able to articulate it and consciously promote it every day.

Culture Drives People.  Culture is crucial.  More than rules, training or speeches, culture provides the guardrails for accepted and desired behavior in an organization.  Businesses are small societies that develop their own mores and expectations.  These mores and expectations become understood and ingrained in the members of this micro-society (i.e., employees).  Their actions reflect the culture of their shared society.  Thus, the established culture (mores and expectations) drives their behavior.

People Drive Business.  We are a service business that happens to be in the technology space.  Our clients depend on our people to be excellent at what they do and to treat everyone with the respect and professionalism they deserve.  Without people a business cannot exist.  Without people doing the right things, a business dies.  Without culture, people don’t know how to act or make decisions, especially when the “handbook” doesn’t apply.  Simply, culture gives employees context for acting.

Sometimes we take culture for granted.  A very small business derives culture by osmosis from its founder.  A larger business must take culture seriously.  As a business grows, leaders must be intentional about developing and maintaining a culture that gives all employees the context they need to make the right decisions that promote the business and project the brand.  Otherwise, inconsistency and individual personality will rule and the business will flounder.

The Looming Smartphone Research Crisis: Meeting the Challenge

Mobile.  Mobile.  Mobile.  Everyone wants mobile research.  Mobile access can put research in context like never before.  It’s the ultimate in meeting the consumer where they are rather than bringing the customer to where we are.

For years, researchers have begged for more mobile.   We researchers see the promise and we love the idea of just-in-time feedback.  There is a beautiful synergy between researchers and respondents since both groups want to utilize mobile devices more.  Even so, mobile research is growing but it has never boomed.  Why not? Read More…

Passing of an Industry Icon: Bill Weylock

Today I learned that a friend and research industry icon, Bill Weylock, has passed away.  Lenny Murphy did a very good obituary on the GreenBook blog that gives a detailed outline of Bill’s legacy.  Here are a few of my recollections meant as a tribute to a leader and a friend.

Bill was brilliant and an industry pioneer.  He was a founding member of the Qualitative Research Consultant’s Association (QRCA) and served as its President.  When I first came to know him, he was trying to get QRCA members to participate in a QRCA interactive forum using CompuServe.  He was leading the adoption of the online forum and having a difficult time finding followers.  That was then.  Now, QRCA has a widely used and read forum.  LinkedIn and other websites utilize thousands of forums for discussions of various topics.  Plus, a major qualitative research methodology, including 20|20‘s own QualBoard, has been built on the threaded forum technology.  Bill saw the power of the Internet before the Internet was cool.  He led the way for all of us.

When I was President of QRCA, Bill took me under his wing.  He helped me to understand the history and the dynamics of the organization.  He helped me to see the importance of planning for the future and creating a QRCA that would lead the industry.  Bill had strong opinions and was not afraid of a little disagreement.  He encouraged me to live with the power of my convictions, even when some members disagreed.  He liberally shared his experience and wisdom, but always expected me to go my own way.  He was fiercely independent and expected others to be so too.  He was a mentor then and became a friend.

Bill Weylock had a tremendous influence on our industry and a tremendous influence on many people.  Miss you already, Bill.

Forbes says CMOs Misunderstand Social Media Motivators

A recent article in Forbes titled, “A Wide Divide Between Brands and Consumers in Social Media” cites a survey of consumers active in brand social media sites and CMOs who are responsible for those sites.  As the title suggests, one of the most surprising findings was that consumers go to brand sites for games or coupons or something they can “get.”  Marketers tend to believe they come to learn or express themselves.  If you are responsible for a brand’s social media presence, this is a key finding that should cause you to pause and think about how you engage your brand loyalists.  But what does this have to do with research?

For me, this study was interesting for its impact on how we manage and grow our panel.  20|20 maintains a research panel of over 300,000 North American consumers with a 60,000 member smart phone panel.  Sometimes we think that they are a part of our panel because they like doing research,  sharing their opinions and learning about products through research.   While there are some who definitely participate for these reasons, we must remember that most of them participate for the money or because we provide some type of very fun activity for them.  This article was a good reminder to do what we researchers are supposed to do so well…put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.  When we do, I think we will be a bit better at engaging our panel.

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