NEW YORK: Market researchers must become experts at using storytelling to sell their own work internally, according to a leading executive from ESPN.

Barry Blyn, the organisation's vp/consumer insights, discussed this topic at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Re:Think 2015 conference in New York.

He asserted that research teams should be adept at promoting their output to in-house stakeholders to have a meaningful impact on the businesses they work for.

"An essential part of market research is marketing the research," said Blyn. (For more, including how the firm's researchers promote their work internally, read Warc's exclusive report: Marketing-research best practices from ESPN.)

This means finding interesting locations and methods for presenting information that go beyond the workaday PowerPoint deck.

"If you want to get your clients to come to [discuss] your work, don't say, 'We hope you'll join us in a sterile facility on Tuesday for six groups.' You market the methodology," said Blyn.

"If you want to get people out of the office, you have to sell them on the idea of coming to a new methodology."

Such an idea does not compromise the integrity of the researcher's craft, but simply identifies more effective and engaging ways to translate their activity for consumption by a wider audience.

"A great way to tell a story is to have great storytellers," said Blyn. And this "isn't just markers and crayons. The research has to be strong, rigid and quantitative. Design just helps to strengthen it into a story."

That approach allows research professionals to retain the necessary rigour and make a heightened impact. "At ESPN Consumer Insights," he continued, "we do research to know, not research to show.

"We will certainly talk to you about your diamond-glowing product and all its equities. But, at the same time, we will show you blemishes, too. That's the way we roll."

Data sourced from Warc