Eulogy for a Beloved Market Research Organization

A eulogy that I hope to never give because it is irrelevant…

I have many memories, fond memories, so many, too many to share them all. Fond memories of a market research organization that fought for my rights, my career, my purpose, my industry. An industry organization that fought for what I love to do day in and day out. But that organization is gone now. Memories are all I can share.

I remember when together we took a stand and fought to be excluded from Do No Call lists. We won.
I remember when together we took a stand and fought to provide incentives for physician research. We won.
I remember when together we took a stand to bring online surveys into the fold of good and honest research. We won.
I remember when together we loved research conferences and seminars and webinars and papers.

But sadly, I remember the day my beloved organization took a stand and I, torn, could not stand with them. The stand was too severe, too strict. And it was deadly. It turned on us, sold our souls, led us down a sorry path.

I remember the day when the focus on one methodology became so strong that the focus for all other methods was forgotten. The day that observational research and participant-observational techniques were removed from research textbooks. The day we forgot that psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, all of whom have stricter ethical guidelines than market researchers, use these techniques, thrive on these techniques, and learn so many important things about the human condition with these techniques.

That was the day that the organization I had felt a kinship with ceased to be relevant, to be admired, to be sought after as a thought leader. I remember when the organization decreed that passive listening, observational research, was not a legitimate form of research.

I’m sad. But I wipe away the tears. I moved on. I found someone else to admire. I don’t need them now.


10 responses

  1. hi annie. i read a reference to your post in an article on research magazines. of all the hyperlinks – i only came here :).

    i have deliberately in the last few years chosen one specific mr area [mobile mr]. that however hasn’t stopped me from being at core a researcher & don’t profess one method/technique being superior to another. though i do highlight in some areas of research mobile does score against other recall methods as other methods techniques would be over mobile in other instances. a lot of the stuff that gives value to mobiles is observations or what we like to call “magic moment mobile capture”. often i do have to say to clients if this is what you are out to do – mobile won’t work or mobile observation won’t work.

    keep up the good fight. cheers navin

    1. Thanks for your support. Magic moments are why we all love research!

  2. I like the idea of using observational research guidelines from other (non-MR) organizations to guide what is possible. The new guidelines will not be adhered to by many, thereby punishing those trying to be ethical. And will the world be better served by this, or even the MR industry?

    1. The world would be better served by using pre-existing ethical guidelines for observational research. Of course, behaving ethically is not a concern for everyone. But, we can hope that what goes around comes around.

  3. Good on you! The research industry needs to get its head out of the sand and recognise that there are great people in our midst pushing the boundaries of what we do out, without losing their sense of ethics and honesty… the type of knee jerk reaction that causes us to narrow our permissible methodologies is a sure sign of weakness and lack of pride in what we do best.

    1. Thank you. I hope, a couple years from now, we look back and see this just as a time of discussion and not a time of disagreement.

  4. There were also times for me such as that though not in Market research. But I feel your vibe. Every time I fell, I got up stronger.

    1. Keep vibing 🙂

  5. I hope you never have to write that eulogy Annie, unless of course I am the someone you now admire. That would be ok.

    1. Ditto – that is one eulogy I never want to give.

      You’ve always been on my admire list. I hope to also place you on my “Gives me chocolate list.”

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