Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

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To better understand how the recession has changed market researchers' lives in the past year, we've conducted a survey of Forrester's Research Panel For Market Research Professionals about workload, the recession, and prioritization and I published a doc called 'The Impact Of The Recession On Market Research Professionals' Workload'.

The survey confirmed what I've already heard in the conversations I've had with market researchers during 2009: the majority of them haven't experienced a reduction in force in the past year. But this doesn't mean that 2009 has been easy for market researchers. Even if the size of the team stayed the same, the majority saw the number of projects and the workload increase in the past year and experienced more pressure from management for information and insights.

The bad news is that market researchers feel regularly pressured and overworked, the good news however is that this is the time to show the value of market research to the organization because more people pay attention to research studies for guidance and recommendations.

In my recently published report 'The Marketing of Market Research' I give some tips on how better communication of research results can help build influence. To name a few:

  • Think and act as consultants. Don't only present the insights from the research; define a couple of business alternatives, show the monetary impact of each alternative, and position the best possible solution.
  • Use new ways to communicate research. email and PowerPoint can be very effective – but they both need to be handled with care. Are they the right way to get the message and story across to your audience? For some groups, Web 2.0 tools like podcasts, vodcasts, blogs, twitter, or wikis can be more successful.
  • Align the team with the business. To strengthen the relationship between the market research department and other business units, it helps if the research department is organized in a similar way as the rest of the organization. It makes it easier for team members to focus, it helps build their expertise, and they feel more connected to the business.

I believe that this is the time to start implementing some of these changes, even if it adds to the already challenging workload, simply because you have to strike when the iron is hot.