MRA enlisted several researchers attending the Corporate Researchers Conference in Dallas last week to report back summaries & insights from the conference sessions.  This report is on “Doing More With Less: Every Corporate Researcher’s Reality” by Mike Ryan-Todd, Director, Market Research and Melissa Barrow, Market Research Project Manager at Texas Instruments. 

Necessity is the mother of invention – less staff, less budget, same workload.  This resulted in need to redefine support role of MR and a way to prioritize research projects.  Low-cost innovative solutions which maintained quality and objectivity included customer advisory panel, omnibus survey, and a survey tool for DIY internal survey needs.

A key tool is a global customer panel based on internal customer list.  It is a home-grown solution that utilizes an external panel management platform.  The panel members provide in-depth profile info, are kept engaged, and are rewarded with feedback, info about survey results, and awareness that their comments are shared with those who can act on them.  They get good response rates, can focus questions to customer segments, and do longitudinal studies.  However, the panel is not appropriate for every question and it is important to protect the panel.  Building and working with the panel helped to build internal client relationships.  MR owns the results and all study aspects.  This also built MR’s pride in being research partners.

Key messages:

  • Drastic change drives need for bold decisions:  figure out how to get to where you want to be.
  • Lead with patience and respect as you navigate culture changes
  • Keep it basic; keep it simple; go back to the basics you learned in school

For more background, read our pre-CRC interview with Mike Ryan-Todd on the state of corporate research and being a corporate researcher.

Mike Ryan-Todd, Texas Instruments