The two highest-impact research projects we’ve ever done both started out with a blank questionnaire and no specific objectives.
Both involved talking with senior executives or owners in potential client organisations. What we did was we got them talking about their industries and how they saw them developing in the future. Wherever they went, we followed, saying as little as possible and listening to everything.
What we were doing was exploring. Being open to learning things we didn’t know, that we didn’t know we didn’t know.
What we found, in each case, was that our clients’ current pitches to these and similar companies were not going to go anywhere.
None of the executives were going to be moved to change by the offers being made.
But what we also learned was that each group had real concerns about their industry, that no suppliers were addressing. In one case, it was an emerging issue of policy on future allocation of territorial markets, in the other it was about transparency and predictability of the service model and integration of the supplier model with their model.
Neither concern was really about the product or its price or delivery.
Both discoveries were a surprise to the research sponsors.
Both enabled the sponsor to make a new pitch directly addressing the concerns, that was successful in winning new business. Some of the exploring we do is much more structured, for example when we research potential new markets, assess community attitudes, map out a decision process or profile an organisation to reveal how its customers, suppliers, opposition and influencers see it.
And of course most often we are seeking the answers to specific questions that are business critical.
If you want to find out something – especially something you don't really know what it might be – and an ordinary tick-the-box
research isn't going to do it, give Glide a call.
I’m Michael Woodhouse from Glide. You can call me direct on 0417 928 904 or email Michael@glide.co, that’s dot co for company.
Check out the video (2:18)
Most organisations think they can't afford research, or that it's not worth the money – and mostly they're right. What you get out of a multiple choice questionnaire and a few hundred cornered respondents is usually less than you could learn from a real-life market test, with no higher net costs.
Tick-the-box surveys mostly tell you what you already know, or they give you a "snapshot" or "benchmarks" that are not in any way actionable information.
But exploring your own organisation and market can change your future and dramatically improve your outcomes, if you're prepared to go looking for what you don't know. For the unexpected. For the things you don't know that you don't know.
This kind of almost playful "exploring" can discover what's holding you back, or how to sell more to your existing clients, or how to enter new markets or create new products and services.
It produces directly actionable insights, information and solutions.
Serious research like this is almost always all about people. It requires intensive interaction with skilled and experienced researchers, who can operate on the same level as the interview respondents.
If your target is university students, most research agencies will be able to give you just what you want. But if it's managers or decision makers whose head you want to be inside, or it's serious and perhaps personal issues you need to understand, call Glide.
We conduct serious research where the interviewers are either Glide Director Michael Woodhouse or Glide Senior Consultant Gail White. Both of them have degrees in psychology and hands-on experience working for small and large organisations and starting small businesses. They have the skills and standing to relate directly to your targets, on their level, and the experience to discover the nuggets of actionable market intelligence that often hide in a mass of data.
How to discover what you don't know that you don't know – and is it worth it? Check out this 4-page report: