October 04, 2011 / SEEK THE TRUTH
October 04, 2011
Senior executives are layers removed from the people who buy their products everyday and it’s not uncommon to find a significant number of senior executives lacking a current and well-rounded understanding of the needs and behaviors of the people they’re in business to serve. Executives often pay little attention to annual research presentations (that cost millions of dollars a year) and often don’t act on the information they’re given. They operate from significant misconceptions, dated information, personal bias and long-held myths about consumers. This big disconnect can lead to poorly informed strategic planning, misfires on product development and investment allocation. Executive team members can benefit significantly in their individual functional areas by putting their consumers first and getting to know them in a deeper and more dimensional way.
1. Move research from ignored to inspired
Elevate the importance of research and ensure it is a business intelligence function that informs all areas of your business. Ban PowerPoint and insist on dynamic and interactive conversations rather than presentations. Insist that content for presentations are informative, inspiring, engaging and action-oriented with insights, implications and ideas that can fuel decision-making.
2. Move research from analytical to directional
Research is often overlooked or quickly forgotten because the presentations are data-driven and dry. Research always tells a story so insist that all forms of research are delivered with data-driven insights presented with the clear implications and provocative questions to inspire new thinking.
3. Move from research that only illustrates statistics to stories that profile real people
Bring your consumer to life in a way that people can understand and relate to. Insist that deep personifications of each of your consumers are created to show them as real people, with all facets of their lives clearly illustrated to help connect your company to the way your consumers live their lives.
4. Move from static to dynamic research
With amazing research design, technology and a clear directional brief, research should be dynamic and inspiring. Ensure you have an active portfolio of research methodologies that provide you with regular and directionally informative updates about the needs, wants, opinions, behaviors, habits and concerns of the people who buy your products and services and the trends that impact the world they live in.
5. Research that moves from data to business intelligence
Develop a dashboard model that connects all of your data so it tells a story and becomes a predictive tool that models scenarios for business performance, business decisions and strategy development. The model should connect sales and traffic performance data, category, economic, environmental, financial and emotional indicators that are combined to help you understand the directional changes of consumers.
Photo: Marc Wathieu
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