How researchers create (or fail to create) business impact

Kerry Edelstein, Philip Herr and David Rabjohns
Research Narrative, Millward Brown and MotiveQuest

Summary:

The business issue of research is, itself, a business issue. Creating business (and marketing) impact has always been the goal of market researchers. With so many sources of information becoming available, focus has gravitated heavily toward understanding a rotating door of new methods and tools. As a result the challenge of creating business impact has become that much more acute. Yet by focusing on data over decision-making, we run the risk of dramatically undercutting our own effectiveness.

The question we set out to ask was this: in our rapidly evolving and competitive market for data, how can the researcher ensure that his or her contributions generate valuable insights that create positive business impact? The key, we conclude, is to focus laser-like on addressing the business issue and to ensure that researchers are trained not only to understand these issues, but to proactively engage non-research management and communicate how research can inform business solutions.