A Plan for Change: Market research goals you can actually accomplish this year

 scrabble-resolutionsI’m pretty tired of New Year’s Resolutions that are completely unattainable. Only an incredibly tiny minority of people ARE able to lose those 25 pounds, write in their mindfulness journal every day, or read a novel every month. With that in mind, let’s drop New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t make them.

Instead, plan for goals that may not change the world, but will still make things better and are definitely achievable. And, since this is a market research blog, let’s choose attainable goals within market research. Here goes!

1)      Try one new methodology. When you keep reading statistics like 38% of companies are using big data analytics or 46% of companies are using text analytics, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never catch up. Well, the only way to catch up is to start. Don’t fret over trying ten methods you’ve never tested out before or making sure half of all your projects use a different method than you normally use. Aim for success. Plan to try one new method one time. It might not sound like a lot but it’s more than nothing. If you’ve never done an eye-tracking study before, try a small, simple one. If you’ve never done a mystery shopping project before, try one in your local area.

2)      Mentor one person. That person might be in a different department, they might be straight out of college, they might be a senior person who’s planning to retire in two years. Find one person who doesn’t share your skill-set and teach them the tools of your trade, whether that’s in-person interviewing, or eye-tracking. While you’re at it, notice what seems confusing or illogical to them. What takes a long time to learn or what do they keep asking questions about. These ‘annoying’ questions are really discussion points for you – can you redesign these things to be more straightforward and more logical. Can YOU learn a better way to do them? Remember, learning isn’t necessarily one way!

3)      Focus on focus. When you’re responsible for the success of a product or product line, you’ve got hundreds of things in mind that could improve awareness, design, usability, likability, and ultimately sales. Those hundreds of things lead to many research objectives and hypotheses leading to overstuffed discussion guides and focus groups that ramble into so many areas that participants can’t truly share their opinions about anything. If you regularly find yourself with 8 to 10 goals for every research project, make this the year to challenge yourself to stay under 8 goals. Of course, if you regularly have 6 to 8 goals, then challenge yourself to stay under 6.

4)      Shorter data collection tools. Ok, opinions vary depending on who you talk to but you’ll hear people say questionnaires shouldn’t be any longer than ten or fifteen or twenty minutes. If your questionnaires are usually in the 45-minute range, then ten-minute questionnaires are completely unrealistic. What can you do instead that is achievable and would be an improvement? Resign yourself to never launch a questionnaire that is more than 35 minutes. You can do it.

5)       Assume everything is mobile. Rather than plan or accommodate for mobile research, assume that every online research project you do will be answered on a teeny tiny mobile device. Every questionnaire, bulletin board, online focus group, and more. Make this the year you truly put participants first when it comes to letting them decide how they want to participate in research.

6)     Share your knowledge. Everyone of us learned something last year – a new skill or technique, a new insight about a product category or target audience. Make this the year that you take the plunge and share that knowledge with your colleagues. Whether you do it via a webinar, a conference presentation, or a white paper, share the wealth!

These goals might seem too small to matter, but sometimes it’s more important to achieve a small success rather than no success at all. Besides, once you you’ve successfully achieved one, you might want to review your data and update the plan with a second achievable goal. If we can help you along the way, we’d love to help you try that one new methodology or tighten up your focus. Please get in touch with us!

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