Apple: Same challenges worldwide

John WelchMarket Intelligence ManagerApple CanadaTorontoQ. What types of research does your company commission?A. Here in Canada we do a fairly broad range of qualitative and quantitative research. The only thing we aren't involved in would be product development research. That's done...

John Welch

Market Intelligence Manager

Apple Canada

Toronto

Q. What types of research does your company commission?

A. Here in Canada we do a fairly broad range of qualitative and quantitative research. The only thing we aren’t involved in would be product development research. That’s done in the States, where the research and development group is based.

Q. In your experience, what types of research do we do well in Canada?

A. It really depends on the supplier. I haven’t really found any gaps in terms of inability to do a certain type of research.

Q. In your opinion, what could we do better?

A. Based on discussions I have had with my counterparts in other countries where Apple is active, it seems like there are the same problems, the same challenges, the same capabilities worldwide.

That’s the situation with primary research. The situation with secondary research, or industry research, is much different.

Q. What needs of yours are not currently being served by the market research services available?

A. I would like to see more being done in terms of secondary research – broad-based analysis on trends in the market, industry size, industry forecasts of growth.

There are companies that do that now. But what we don’t have in Canada is a number of different services to provide a basis for comparison.

I just came back from the States, and in meetings with my colleagues there, they have a huge range of secondary information services to draw from, which we just don’t have here.

The other side of that is that it may not be economically viable for companies to provide those services in Canada because they don’t have the broad range of clients to support them, to make them financially viable.

Q. In what ways could the reporting of information be improved? Are you satisfied with the supplier’s ability to draw conclusions?

A. In terms of a research supplier drawing conclusions, it’s incumbent on us as a client to drive that. And if you are using suppliers that aren’t doing that for you, that’s not their issue, that’s your issue.

Not just a supplier

I think it’s important for research companies to take the attitude of not being just a supplier, but being a partner in terms of helping the client take that information the next step.

Given that we’re in an era of increasingly tight head counts and budgets, we certainly rely on suppliers more as research partners.

But that’s not really a change, as much as an evolution in the relationship between clients and suppliers.

Decision-making

Q. Does the market research available in Canada support your decision-making to the extent to which you would like?

A. Short answer, yes. Given a larger budget, I would probably be doing more research.

Q. How would you rate the efforts by Canadian market research companies to market their information services?

A. Based on the number of calls I get on a weekly basis from research suppliers asking for meetings, I’d say they are doing a pretty good job. Or at least they’re persistent.

Q. How do you determine the reliability and stability of a research company?

A. I may talk to other people who have used them to get a sense of what they are like to work with.

I guess I look for a company that is competitive on price, demonstrates a good knowledge of research methodology, and is able to take my marketing problem or business problem and translate that into a methodology that’s going to go some way to answering the question I have.

I want someone that is easy to work with, someone that is proactive in terms of going that extra step, and someone that delivers on time and as promised.

I guess I’m looking for someone that’s going to match my expectations.