Opinions Uncategorized

Recycled data predicted for the future of consumer research. Say what?

Posted by Chris Spence on February 24th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Have marketers lost their nerve these days?

Why do some marketers insist on testing every concept to within an inch of its life before they make a decision? Why do they Recycled data predicted for the future of consumer researchlean so strongly on their research teams to provide them with a no-risk decision on what product to launch, where and how?

And is this trend likely to continue in the future of consumer research?

Did you ‘think green’ before your last research study?

I know a lot of market researchers. Most of them are inundated with queries from their internal colleagues, with demands about what questions they need their research programmes to answer.

Great if you’re a researcher … or is it? How can you be strategic and forward thinking when you’re buried in tactical ad hoc research, insisted on by your marketing team for sound decision-making. They probably know what the right decision is anyway!

So let me ask you this … could you have reused previous consumer research to get to the answers you needed? Or, without a thought, did you commission an entirely new research study?

If your first option has previously been to reuse existing research, you are in the slim minority.

Here’s some evidence that it’s likely to form part of the future of consumer research: ‘By 2020, 80% of research projects will always begin by mining existing data as opposed to starting afresh.’ Ref: Cambiar 2011 report.

It’s paid for, so it’s yours to use … again and again

With so much money wasted in overlapping and repeated research in large multi-national companies, why is it so hard to reuse the research you have already paid for? From my experience, here are four reasons I have heard most often:

  1. I was not aware we had done that! We need sharing platforms to archive prior research results. PowerPoint libraries are not enough since they aren’t searchable, and have static views. Let’s say I want to understand where we have ever done research on teens and their attitudes - how would I go about searching for that on a portal that contains PowerPoint decks and tables? It’s not easy and requires patience and time, virtues many research teams don’t have to spare!
  2. My research need is different and we have done no research that is close enough to the topic.Without knowing what research has previously been done, how can this stand true? Try this! Go back to your colleagues with the suggestion they can pay x-amount for the answer they need. Or they pay nothing and get some context and trends from studies with similarity and overlap, related to what they are trying to understand. Let them choose. Back yourself to try it - you might be pleasantly surprised at your recycling data efforts!
  3. We have no tools to manipulate the previous research for our needs.Tables and static graphs never work when you’re trying to recycle data for a different use. You need flexible tools that are capable of respondent level analysis. It’s more than cross tabs – it’s about data investigation and having the freedom to explore and share findings for your new purpose.
  4. It’s easier to book a new research project.Yes for real, I have heard this. And yes, I couldn’t believe it either!

So, we have established that tools and sharing platforms need to be in place for recycled research to work. But what about the thinking behind the data and the analytics required to turn the answers into something more tangible? Like predicting business outcomes, enabling innovation analytics to become a reality or just getting the answers you need for your colleague who has no budget!

Your marketing research data is a goldmine of information that can be reused and repurposed to generate insights and contribute to your business growth strategy. And it’s likely to play a role in the future of consumer research.

Do any of these reasons resonate? I’d love to hear what you think, or if you have found a way to overcome them. We have.

Top image : Google Images

Recycled data predicted for the future of consumer research. Say what?

Have marketers lost their nerve these days?Recycled data predicted for the future of consumer research Say what 1

Why do some marketers insist on testing every concept to within an inch of its life before they make a decision? Why do they lean so strongly on their research teams to provide them with a no-risk decision on what product to launch, where and how?

And is this trend likely to continue in the future of consumer research?

Did you ‘think green’ before your last research study?

I know a lot of market researchers. Most of them are inundated with queries from their internal colleagues, with demands about what questions they need their research programmes to answer.

Great if you’re a researcher … or is it? How can you be strategic and forward thinking when you’re buried in tactical ad hoc research, insisted on by your marketing team for sound decision-making. They probably know what the right decision is anyway!

So let me ask you this … could you have reused previous consumer research to get to the answers you needed? Or, without a thought, did you commission an entirely new research study?

If your first option has previously been to reuse existing research, you are in the slim minority.

Here’s some evidence that it’s likely to form part of the future of consumer research: ‘By 2020, 80% of research projects will always begin by mining existing data as opposed to starting afresh.’ Ref: Cambiar 2011 report.

It’s paid for, so it’s yours to use … again and again


With so much money wasted in overlapping and repeated research in large multi-national companies, why is it so hard to reuse the research you have already paid for? From my experience, here are four reasons I have heard most often:

  1. I was not aware we had done that!We need sharing platforms to archive prior research results. PowerPoint libraries are not enough since they aren’t searchable, and have static views. Let’s say I want to understand where we have ever done research on teens and their attitudes - how would I go about searching for that on a portal that contains PowerPoint decks and tables? It’s not easy and requires patience and time, virtues many research teams don’t have to spare!

  2. My research need is different and we have done no research that is close enough to the topic.Without knowing what research has previously been done, how can this stand true? Try this! Go back to your colleagues with the suggestion they can pay x-amount for the answer they need. Or they pay nothing and get some context and trends from studies with similarity and overlap, related to what they are trying to understand. Let them choose. Back yourself to try it - you might be pleasantly surprised at your recycling data efforts!

  3. We have no tools to manipulate the previous research for our needs.Tables and static graphs never work when you’re trying to recycle data for a different use. You need flexible tools that are capable of respondent level analysis. It’s more than cross tabs – it’s about data investigation and having the freedom to explore and share findings for your new purpose.

  4. It’s easier to book a new research project.Yes for real, I have heard this. And yes, I couldn’t believe it either!

So we have established that tools and sharing platforms need to be in place for recycled research to work. But what about the thinking behind the data and the analytics required to turn the answers into something more tangible? Like predicting business outcomes, enabling innovation analytics to become a reality or just getting the answers you need for your colleague who has no budget!

Chris Spence on recycled data predicted for the future of consumer research. Say what?Your marketing research data is a goldmine of information that can be reused and repurposed to generate insights and contribute to your business growth strategy. And it’s likely to play a role in the future of consumer research.

Do any of these reasons resonate? I’d love to hear what you think, or if you have found a way to overcome them. We have.

Leave a comment