Storytelling in market research. It's a trend that's been covered at every conference in the industry over the past few years. Storytelling is nothing new to teachers, authors, journalists, or even bedside mothers, but it's a new and sometimes uncomfortable concept for many market researchers.
I mean, we're supposed to be data nerds not creative geniuses right? Unfortunately, business moves fast and market research has always fought to stay on the radar and in the budget. So instead of fighting for a way to buy 10 more minutes to talk about our data in a presentation to executives, we should be looking for ways to make a large and long-lasting impact in the time we are allotted.
Businesses have always been pressed to get more done in less time
Each new priority on a "to-do" list for an executive is seemingly more important than the last. Unfortunately, due to the nature of day-to-day business operations, market research often plays second fiddle as business leaders address more critical issues than listening to findings and recommendations collected from your year-long tracker study.
Storytelling has grown in popularity due to its ability to take rather complex sets of data and deliver main takeaways in quick, clear, decisive, and albeit more engaging manner. Why is Twitter such a force in social media? Twitter forces you to be succinct and compelling by telling mini-stories in 140 characters or less. You won't impress your audience by showing off 100 pages of data with fancy charts and graphs. In today's fast-paced business environment you impress your audience your ability to interpret all of that information and condense it into a memorable and impactful story.
Here is a situation all of us market researchers have probably faced or can relate to:
"The alarm goes off again at 5:25 AM in the hotel, and you’ve already hit snooze twice. Over the past three months (which seems like three years), you’ve been working on this consumer insights market research project to explore point-of-purchase (POP) decision-making factors consumers consider while buying products in your client’s retail store. You’ve spent countless hours working through the proper methodology, observing customers in the store, designing intercept survey scripts, collecting panel data, managing the fieldwork, quality checking data, sifting through thousands of pictures and video captures of POPs, and spent every waking hour of your last four weeks compiling all of the data and its findings into a 278-page PowerPoint report.
You have an endless amount of key takeaways from the market research and can’t wait to deliver these results to your client and her executive team at your meeting this morning at 9:00 AM in the city. You anxiously practice your presentation in the hotel room with the hockey game on mute in the background and it times out perfectly at around 30 minutes, which matches the window you were given for the executive team. You are running on no-sleep because of all of the last-minute tweaking and additions you’ve made to the file just a few hours ago.
Come the time of your presentation at 9:00 AM in Conference Room B4, all that is keeping you standing is the $2.99 large coffee you bought at the drive-thru in the morning before you jumped on the highway. You gather your belongings in the parking lot including laptop and take the elevator to floor 8. You greet the secretary and find out the executive board you are meeting with only has five minutes to listen to your findings. The prior meeting is running over and their next strategic planning meeting starts promptly at 9:30 AM off-site.
What matters most in your 278 page report?
Tell a story about those findings.
"Give the audience something to remember."
Drive Research is a startup market research company in Syracuse, NY. We differentiate ourselves on our ability to take data and turn it into actionable insights and strategy for our clients. Contact us at 315-303-2040 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about our market research services here.