Faster results helpful

Patricia PapeVice-President, MarketingMattel CanadaTorontoQ. What types of research does your company commission?A. Generally, most of our research consists of tracking studies. We do a great deal of focus groups, testing various concepts and products. We do advertising effectiveness and some usage...

Patricia Pape

Vice-President, Marketing

Mattel Canada

Toronto

Q. What types of research does your company commission?

A. Generally, most of our research consists of tracking studies. We do a great deal of focus groups, testing various concepts and products. We do advertising effectiveness and some usage and attitude, but not a great deal of that.

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

A. I’d say most everything. I’m very pleased with our research capabilities in Canada.

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

A. Certainly there is an opportunity in non-packaged goods to do more consumer [purchase] tracking. Once you leave packaged goods, it’s difficult to get that kind of information. It exists in some industries, but it does not exist for our category.

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

A. I find that a difficult question because I’m very pleased with the services the market research companies I work with provide. Of course, part of that is establishing clear objectives with the firm, so they know what your expectations are.

The only thing I would like to see is a faster turnaround in data. The research timeline is very long and sometimes it makes the information not as valuable as it could be if it were brought in earlier.

Q. How could the reporting of information be improved?

A. With all of the new computer software, I find that receiving the information in a more graphic form, as opposed to just tables, certainly makes certain issues clearer. It’s more an issue of presentation style.

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

A. It prevents you from making a very bad decision. It supports your in-going feelings, generally. I find it reinforces your thoughts.

In my experience, our market research hasn’t changed the direction we have been going.

And I think that could be a function of the type of research we do; perhaps if we did more quantitative research, more frequently, maybe that would change, but we are a great user of qualitative research.

That is mainly due to the speed of turnaround and because we have such a short life cycle with our product. Something that takes a long time to be in-field isn’t of much use to us.

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

A. I would say on a scale of one to 10, it would be a six.

There are certain firms that have a very strong direct mail program, so you are constantly aware of new techniques and programs. But the great majority rely on referral.

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

A. I tend to rely on companies I have dealt with in the past and, therefore, there is a track record. I would use client referrals as well. And a lot would depend on the communication of their proposals.