Ideas and thoughts about market research fieldwork in the UK.
Market research fieldwork for what? How do we know what the client is ultimately aiming for? It
starts with understanding the use case. And before we can do that, we need to have all the
information from our client to work out what would delight them. At that point, the only
question is, "does this market research fieldwork support the use case we agreed on?" Too often,
we are in such a hurry to show off our recruiting and interviewing skills that we forget to
address the notion of what we do it for, and what the use case is.
You do not need more time to deliver that market research project. You just need to decide who
you will work with and what the fieldwork process will look like. That means being accountable
for the project which means making good decisions (with a sense of urgency) about who is going
to conduct your fieldwork and recruitment. Always look for the company that will step up and
take responsibility so that the things you need get delivered.
Being described as "a self-sufficient" appears to be a worthy goal, but is it really possible if
you want to actually get anything done? In market research fieldwork all our productivity,
leverage and insight comes from being part of something, not apart from it. We rely on
respondents to take part in our research, on our panelists to engage, on our recruiters and
interviewers to interrupt. The goal now is to work out who and what our dependencies will be so
that our clients can depend on us.
There has always been a bright light around the craftsperson. Someone who takes real care and
produces work for the ages. Everyone else might be a hack, or a guru, but a craftsperson was
someone we could respect. Perhaps we are entering a new age of craftsmanship. A craftsperson
might be particularly talented in the way he or she delivers market research projects. Just
because it is not in a craft fair doesn't mean it didn't demand craft.
What do most businesses do with their best clients? If you define "best client" as the client
who pays you the most, then you take their money. But what if you define "best client" as the
person who brings you new clients through frequent referrals? That client, I think, is worth far
more than what any one transaction can bring. In fact, if you think of that client as your best
advertisement instead, it changes everything.
One of the things that we always think about is how our role as market research project managers
is to "protect the work". To make sure that our clients get the best respondents. To make sure
that our clients meet their deadlines. To make sure that our clients can deliver great market
research. Our job is to keep the project moving and the choices open so that our client can do
his or her work. We protect the project so that our clients can deliver it.