At Communications For Research, we recruit and train a roster of new market research experts, to work alongside our specialists who have decades of experience in the field. We also provide advice and consulting to marketing agencies that deliver (or want to deliver) market research services, as well as businesses that have an in-house market research manager or coordinator. While each of these efforts and relationships need to be handled differently, what ties them all together is a consistent set of best practices for (among other things) reporting market research analysis.
With this in mind, here are three fundamental rules that we follow and teach:
Know Your Audience
Just as businesses need to know who their customers are, those tasked with reporting market research analysis must know who they need to reach and inform. There is no one-size-fits-all audience. Executives, technicians, administrators, marketers and product developers may all get paid by the same employer, but they have different information requirements and expectations. These must be taken into account for reporting to be accepted and effective. In many cases, this means having multiple presentations for different stakeholder groups.
Keep it Simple — but not Stupid
There is a line between simple and stupid. The former is clarifying, the latter is, well, insulting. Despite this, however, people without market research experience or training struggle to find the correct side of this line. In their attempt to simplify, they omit critical information — which renders their report superficial (which is a nicer way of saying stupid). The ability to quickly and accurately distinguish primary insights and information from secondary is one of the most critical skills that a market research professional must cultivate, and consistently demonstrate.
Remember that it’s not about the analysis: it’s about the recommendations.
This may be the most difficult best practice to follow, because it’s very (very) easy to lose sight of the shoreline and start conducting “analysis for the sake of analysis.” What makes this risk even more likely, is that everyone wants and needs good data, and it seems logical that more analysis means greater reliability. However, just as there is a line between simple and stupid, there is a line between analysis as a means to an end, and analysis as an end unto itself. The latter invariably leads to exhaustion, frustration and analysis paralysis. The former leads to practical and actionable recommendations, which is not just the purpose of reporting market research analysis, but it is the primary function of market research itself.
The Bottom Line
Reporting market research analysis is a critical piece of any market research effort — which means that if it is approached and managed incorrectly, then the adverse consequences will flow through the entire project. It really is THAT important!
Whether you need a study designed, participants recruited or a study analyzed, contact the Communications For Research team today. You’ll speak with our co-CEO Colson Steber who can help you determine how CFR can integrate into your business goals and market research plans.