Recently, I have had a couple of conversations with research and marketing executives that make me wonder if research vendors really believe in marketing research – even the research they are conducting for their clients!
While chatting with the head of marketing at one of the world’s largest research companies, I talked about the merits and value of advertising, both print and online. She quickly stopped me and exclaimed that her company doesn’t believe in advertising. “Advertising doesn’t work!” she told me.
But two weeks later I saw a press release from her company on a study it had conducted highlighting the effectiveness of advertising! Really? When I recontacted her to discuss the findings of the firm’s research and gauge her interest in advertising in our magazine or on our Web site, she told me they weren’t interested. Further, she said, by asking her to advertise, I made it clear to her that I “just don’t understand this firm” and its business model.
I would have accepted her objections as nothing more than a potential client not wanting to do business with us, but then I had two similar conversations with other research executives in the ensuing months.
When talking with these executives about marketing their firms, I cited separate research studies by Harris Interactive and Dynamic Logic that supported the effectiveness of advertising. I was a bit surprised when they both quickly dismissed the studies. One indicated that they were going to spend their marketing budget with a media source other than Quirk’s. I then cited the 2010 NextGen Market Research Trends Survey, which found Quirk’s to be respondents’ most-used Web site after LinkedIn and the Wall Street Journal. This study was rejected as trivial.
I wasn’t happy about their decisions to take their business elsewhere but I understand that everyone has their own preferences and strategies. What really bothers me is the sense that these individuals seem not to believe in marketing research as a vehicle for defining and presenting actionable marketing information.
Client companies spend vast sums investigating how to market and promote their products and services more effectively. How do their research vendors look them in the face and tell them how to allocate their marketing and research dollars when they themselves appear not to believe such expenditures are worthwhile?