Experts should offer suggestions

Sonia CrookMarketing Research ManagerQuaker Oats CompanyPeterborough, Ont.Q. What types of research does your company commission?A. We commission all types. Focus groups, mall studies, product tests, concept product tests, advertising tests, tracking studies. A whole range.Q. In your experience, what types of...

Sonia Crook

Marketing Research Manager

Quaker Oats Company

Peterborough, Ont.

Q. What types of research does your company commission?

A. We commission all types. Focus groups, mall studies, product tests, concept product tests, advertising tests, tracking studies. A whole range.

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

A. In my experience, I would say we do the range of research well in Canada.

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

A. It isn’t the type of research we could do better, but the servicing of the client.

Basically, I think we have to have more actionable marketing recommendations out of both qualitative and quantitative research.

Researchers have to be closer to the client’s business, they have to have a greater understanding of their business.

A lot of researchers don’t have a general understanding of marketing, which I think would certainly help them.

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

A. I think the big need is to have solid, actionable marketing recommendations. There are a couple of [market research] houses that will present me with recommendations, but the majority will present me with research conclusions – a,b,c, – without going to the next level.

Either they are just not attuned to what the client needs, or they are not attuned enough to marketing to go that extra step.

Q. Where would you like to see more research being done?

A. I’d like to see more research being done in the consumer delight or consumer satisfaction area.

The other thing we need to have are cheaper, more effective, pricing sensitivity tests.

Q. If you lived in an ideal world, in what ways would you change the field of market research?

A. In reporting, I would make the conclusions actionable and solid. I want them to tell us, ‘Based on this research, here is what I would do if I were the brand manager.’

If I was at a market research company, I would make sure that my opinion was heard. It could be taken or rejected. But certainly, if they want to provide service to their client, I think it is well within their ambit to make recommendations coming out of the research.

Q. In your opinion, does the market research available support your decision-making to the extent to which you would like?

A. Yes.

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

A. Very average. I don’t think they go out and actively try to sell their services enough and make sure their services really meet a definite need.

They have to understand the needs of the client, and also how their services address those needs. They should have a good understanding of the business. They should be proactive, they should suggest ways we might research.

A couple of the companies I deal with definitely do that.

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

A. By the work they have done for us in the past, by their reputation, by the types of general studies they have done, by their personnel, and, finally, by visiting them and seeing how they put research into the field.