The Goldilocks Challenge: Reinventing Research to be JUST RIGHT!

January 30, 2019

I was reminded recently about a storybook I used to read to my son that got me thinking about the challenge for market research as we face 2019.

It was the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” – you know the one?  A little girl wanders the forest, enters the home of a family of bears: Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear.  They are away and she sits in their chairs, eats their porridge and finally falls asleep in one of their beds.

In each case, she evaluates her choices (too hard/too soft, too hot/too cold, too big/too small) and in each, finds one choice that is JUST RIGHT!

It got me thinking that as an industry,
research agencies need to commit to the Goldilocks challenge. 

Research has reached an impasse where we need to reexamine what it means to give clients choices that are JUST RIGHT for their business challenges.

It is no longer enough to sell what we have always sold; the industry needs to evolve offerings that provide clients with a path to successful outcomes, based on a keen understanding of how consumers really behave, not just a means to collect data on what they say they do, as research has often done in the past.

We can all point to examples of research agencies that have made a business out of big multi-year, highly rational tracking studies that were too expensive, took too long and didn’t really provide any directional insight that could help guide brands towards growth.  Or companies who thrived creating scores for shopper marketing or NPD that were expensive and time-consuming but didn’t really provide results that reflected how consumers make choices.  But they made lots of profits for agencies who continued to sell them, by promoting them to the brands who would still buy them.  Too big!

In recent years, clients have begun to reject the bulky, time-consuming approaches to traditional research, in category management, packaging, and NPD, where the results were more like insurance rather than a blueprint for success.  Business and budgetary pressures have become more acute, and the extreme pendulum swing in some cases has been to reject custom research for seductively leaner but often ineffective DIY research.  Many companies (including smaller disruptive emerging brands) have rejected research altogether because any affordable choices would give them very little effective strategic guidance.  Too small!

If the market research industry is to remain relevant, agencies need to evolve next generation solutions that respond to the evolving needs of clients . . . all clients, especially those who might have thought they couldn’t afford best in class research.  Solutions need to be JUST RIGHT when the objective for clients is more agile access to actionable insights that drives real growth for all our respective clients.

At PRS IN VIVO, our approach to the Goldilocks Challenge is to create solutions that are truly effective by listening to clients and responding with a blend of the category expertise, a behavioral framework, and proven innovation that is not just flashy demonstrations of technology.

Over the coming months, we will be giving you updates and making new announcements that demonstrate our commitment to the Goldilocks challenge through innovations to our portfolio of research solutions. Whether through the application of AI or wearable technology to reveal deeper insights faster, or the introduction of next generation in-person research, our goal is to create solutions to meet the research needs of new, as well as existing clients, globally.  And you can guarantee that we will make sure they are JUST RIGHT!

THE AUTHOR
Olivier Blanchet, Vice President, Leader of Innovation and Forecasting,  joined the company in 1998, opened & managed In Vivo UK from 2005 to 2008, & manages the European offices. Exploring how people actually make their decisions, transforming these findings into actionable recommendations is what drives Olivier every day. Beyond packaging, Olivier specializes in new product development & volume forecasting.  Olivier also enjoys swimming, cycling, reading, cooking & is a great fan of cities he lived in: Edinburgh, London & Paris!