The best market research projects I have been involved in have been purposeful, research that meets a clear need and enables clients to make critical business decisions. A clear sense of purpose sees everyone pulling in the same direction allowing projects to move forward quickly and effectively.
When research has real purpose it makes it easier to write questions or discussion guides. A clear focus makes it much easier to formulate a structure and to know what to include and what to leave out.
Likewise, when it comes to interpreting and reporting results knowing how the research will be used gives a sense of direction and guides us where to look for the most relevant insights.
It seems strange that not all research projects don’t have this strong sense of purpose. It is still the case that project briefs go out with fuzzy objectives giving the research agency a limited chance to succeed.
As researchers we can help change this. We need to challenge briefs asking clients why they are commissioning research, what decisions the research will help to make and, looking forward, what success will look like in terms of how the research impacts their organisation. Challenging clients may be uncomfortable but ultimately it is in our interests. Finding out as much as possible about how the research will be used ultimately gives us the best chance of making the project a success.