The Right Tool for the Right Job

Have you ever done a little task around the house that you knew would have been much easier if you only had a tool specifically designed for that purpose?   Maybe even something as simple as a Philips head screwdriver...

I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created.   They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.

Bill Gates

...and all you had was a flat headed one?   The job takes longer, you more apt to get frustrated and you probably won’t be in a hurry to do a similar project like it in the future (unless you go out and get the right tool!)

This paradigm comes into play in various ways in the field of marketing research and consulting.   I’d like to take just a few minutes to talk about two examples of how this ideas shows up in our world.

First of all, we have a multitude of “tools” in our tool belt from a research, methodology and analysis perspective.   To best serve our clients, we need to make sure that we are using the appropriate tool(s) to answer their questions and provide them guidance.   If we choose incorrectly, then we will not only be inefficient, but we will most likely frustrate our clients and thus may never have the opportunity to work with them again.

Think about this (albeit somewhat extreme) example…  Suppose our client wants to understand their user base.   They are a CPG company who has a large portfolio of products but they have no idea what type of individuals actually use their products.   Or how many they use, or with what frequency? You’re probably thinking, “Hmmm… sounds like a prime candidate for a little customer segmentation work!” And you’d be correct.   But, what if instead, we moved forward with a brand equity study that included some mapping of how their brand fit into the marketplace and what competitors owned which spaces?   No doubt this would be helpful. And, combined with some segmentation work might be very insightful.   However, just the branding study by itself would not go very far in helping with their original business issue.   The result would be a frustrated and dissatisfied customer. Probably not one that would look to us the next time they needed help.

A second area where this comes into play concerns one of the differences between large and small research suppliers.   Let’s look at another example...  Our prospective client has a very complex issue that will require a handful of different types of analytic approaches and the creative integration of them all, to best arrive at a solution to their business concern.   Some of the larger competitors in our space might well offer syndicated or proprietary product “solutions” to many business issues such as this.   The problem with this approach is that oftentimes, the “solution” that is offered up doesn’t quite fit.   It might help somewhat, it will probably offer some solid guidance, but it doesn’t really get at their core question.   The advantage we have, however, as a smaller, more nimble company, is that we have the ability to be creative (in the truest ResearchWISE sense) to come up with a more customized solution for our client.   Some things just don’t fit neatly into a pre-packaged solution.

One of our many strengths is that we not only know what tool to use when, but we know how to best blend the collective wisdom, imagination and science to bring enlightened solutions to our clients.   Sometimes all you need is a hammer or a screwdriver, at other times though; you have to be more like MacGyver!

~ Bud Sanders

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