DURHAM: North Carolina: What level of return on investment does your average pharmaceutical company achieve from its market research? Is it (a) Excellent; (b) Good; (c) Average; (d) Below average; (e) Poor; or (f) Don't Know?

Right first time: It's (f) Don't know!

A new report from North Carolina-headquartered Cutting Edge Information, 74% of surveyed companies make no attempt to calculate ROI for their market extensive research activities. And of that percentage, 39% do not conduct any sort of project  performance measurement.

Instead, says the report, Improve Market Research Impact, these firms are concentrating on levels of satisfaction of internal clients. They take the view that hard measurement of RoI is impractical because of the extensive time-lag between initial research and project launch.

Comments lead report author Jordan Stone: "Because of its increased prominence in contributing to central strategy and key stakeholder decisions, many market research groups have shifted their focus from trying to directly tie market research to the success of products.

"With clients such as business development [units], ensuring the customer is satisfied and utilizing to the fullest the deliverables and insights communicated has become a better means by which to gauge market research success."

The report covers US and global market research budgets both for  2007 and 2008; it lists the departments that contribute funding to market research; and brand-level market research spending and MR spending for thirteen therapeutic areas: by phase; MR analyst pay, by level of experience; and information on outsourcing practices and budgets.

Based on surveys and interviews with top executives in over thirty major pharma companies, the report claims to provide strategies for maximizing the reach and impact of market research, as well as winning stakeholder support.

Data sourced from mrweb.com; additional content by WARC staff