Making Your Research Agency Stand Out
The market research world is extremely cluttered.
Within the ESOMAR directory alone there are 1,600 major research organizations listed and that doesn’t take into account the number of small research consultancies globally (the Independent Consultants Group has itself over 300 individual members). With so many agencies competing for new business and fine margins between them in terms of price etc – how can companies stand out from the crowd?
My role involves going into research agencies and evaluating what they are currently doing in terms of project reporting and consulting on improving those processes. Despite the preconception that what ‘their’ research agency does is unique, the vast majority of agencies deliver very similar reports, usually in PowerPoint, usually manually created with accompanying data tables. I’ve written before about the need to look at a project’s final intended audience and present/report accordingly. Too often than not a project is delivered to an insight team within an organization and that team needs to synthesize the report’s findings down to a more ‘manageable’ report to then distribute to senior stakeholders who aren’t necessarily trained in interpreting and understanding market research data. By thinking about the ‘after effect’ of a research project, a research agency can help with this considerably and show a real point of difference compared to competing agencies. Agencies need to keep front of mind who their report will inevitably be delivered to – as I mentioned before, it could go through several pairs of hands before being delivered to the CEO. It is critical to engage the CEO with the report’s key insights in order to make the project actionable and make a real business difference – which hopefully would lead to additional work for that specific agency.
Firstly, let’s look at the deliverables themselves – PowerPoint is the delivery format of choice and will remain to be so for the foreseeable future. There is still something quite satisfying for a research buyer to receive a PowerPoint deck. Of course, the production of this deck could take a team of research executives several hours or days to complete – time which could be potentially reallocated if those reports were produced via report automation. I’ve seen first-hand, clients save incredible amounts of time by automating the production of a project’s set of reports. In a recent example one of our partners was spending almost 60 work days producing a set of reports, through automation there were able to get this down to a day and a half – over five working weeks back to move around internally. That time could be reallocated to finding real, actionable insights which will have direct impact on the client’s business.
As well as delivering the key insights via PowerPoint, by offering the client an online infographic reporting tool the client’s senior stakeholders can look at the key insights at their leisure (via their ipad while travelling to work etc) rather than having to download a large presentation. Giving them the ability to not only access the data but interact with it as well – changing the filters, looking at different timeframes etc – might encourage them to engage with the project more, understand it clearer, become more inquisitive and ask more questions which might (in turn) mean more project work for the agency to answer those questions.
Not only do we at E-Tabs offer the ability to automate a project’s PowerPoint reports but also we can help with the online reporting too. Our custom build dashboard service means you don’t have to learn another piece of software or concern yourself with stuff outside your remit like buying server space or involving IT in terms of the hosting. Our team looks after the entire process from beginning to end, allowing you to take all the credit but do none of the work! We’d be more than happy to jump on a call or pop in to your office for a non-obligation chat to discuss how we can help diversify your report deliverables to give you the advantage when it comes to proposals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Russ has two pet hates – manually creating research reports … and his football team losing. He advises insight teams and agencies around the world on improving their reporting efficiency – but sadly can’t do much about his team losing!
If you would like to talk with Russ about any charting, reporting or data visualization project you have, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can fill out the form below and he will be in touch.