Objectivity - The Researcher's Biggest Asset

Objectivity, yet again, one of the many important roles we play as marketing researchers.   We are expected to be neutral, objective and independent with a clear and unbiased view.

A creation needs not only subjectivity, but also objectivity.

Stephen Chow

Something dawned on me today as I was doing my daily newspaper reading...

Yes, I’m one of the old-school types that still like the feel of paper in my hands as I read the Wall Street Journal! There seemed to be a theme to the articles I was reading.   It wasn’t the subject matter there was the article about the fast food chain and removing carbonated soft drinks from the kids menu; the one about the soap-pods that are creating a health concern; and finally the one about traditional TV advertising being on the rise (pardon my skepticism on that one).   All of these articles (and more) contained a statement similar to the following,  “According to the research firm ______.....”.   All of these articles were referring to independent, objective research that was vital to making, or supporting, the point that the authors were trying to get across.

This made me realize, yet again, one of the many important roles we play as marketing researchers.   We are neutral, objective and independent.   The only agenda we have when it comes to the research and analysis we perform and report on, is that of seeking out the truth in a situation and gaining a deeper insight and understanding into the business issue at hand.   While it’s always easier to share good news with a client, that’s not our job.   Our job is to tell them the truth.   Good or bad.   Promising or discouraging.   They look to us to tell it like it is and that’s what we do.

This is particularly important to remember as we move forward in this era of so many do-it-yourself (DIY) research tools.   It has become rather easy for a client to perform much of the work for which a Marketing Research firm has traditionally been employed.   Clients can also hire individuals with the skill sets to manage this function inside the organization.   What they can’t create internally though, is the independent, objective mindset as studies are designed, data collected and assimilated, and results are reported. No matter how hard a company tries, the internal view of things will always be a little rosier… a little more positive… a little more “safe”.   It’s human nature.

So, if you’re on the supplier side of the Marketing Researcher world, remember that objectivity is our friend.   In many ways it’s the one thing that really sets us apart from any internal “threat” or competition presented by that advent of so many DIY tools on the market.   And the next time you read the newspaper (virtually or physically!) take note of all of the references to the independent parties that are required to report objectively on the study at hand.

 

~ Bud Sanders

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