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    « In praise of... justgiving.com | Main | Strategy is dead. Or is it? »

    January 20, 2009

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    Simon

    Well, Richard Huntingdon just seems to have a problem with focus groups. He calls for ethnography and immersion sessions - that sounds like research to me.

    While provocative, he and others do have a point. There is plenty of bad research out there, and if you experience it first hand then it sours your judgement. Unfortunately, in a crowded market it is very difficult to find research partners (and for me, the individuals working on projects are much more important than the company) that match one's vision and expectations.

    Clients are a demanding bunch :)

    kevin

    Clients?! cuhhh...

    Good points, there probably is bad research out there (and bad planning, presumably). Maybe it is better to switch research partners, rather than to dismiss all research and pretend that ethnography and immersion etc are something else.

    I wonder too if planners need a different kind of insight (revelation etc) than do clients, more dramatic and ownable as it is to create ads to win gongs, rather than to find 'the truth' about a market or people?

    So, I agree! Thanks for the perceptive comment

    richard huntington

    Guys I just think you may have to come to terms with the idea that qual' is running out of road. It was a wonderful idea that flourished in the late twentieth century but is simply not delivering the real insight that we now need. This doesn't diminish the power of the information that qual delivers but it does suggest that is is losing its potency. Time to think about a future beyond qual' for you researchers. Or are you scared to kill the cash cow?

    kevin

    Ouch! It would be interesting to ponder the respective lengths of the roads of account planning and qualitative research ...

    ... but you seem to conflate qual research with focus groups? And this is Head of Planning talking?? We have plenty of issues with focus groups - to the extent that we don't do them! And are you not doing qual research by talking to academics and real people etc?

    And the insight thing, I think you do have a good point about how difficult it is to find/achieve, but I also think (as mentioned above) that the 'insights' you want are partly about looking good, the insights clients want are mainly about selling more snibbo

    John Griffiths

    So Saatchis doesn't run groups any more? Well there's a Wily Coyote over the edge of the cliff moment. Only I'm trying to decide who is looking into the void: researchers clinging to a cashcow or planners doing it for themselves

    kevin

    Wily Coyote Planner wants to impress clients with their latest box of ACME tricks and show up that pesky Roadrunner Researcher at the same time ... it's just not going to work out, is it? (meep meep)

    Mike

    I hesitate greatly to say that focus groups are dead. If anything new life is being breathed into them by technology. Gone are the days of recruiting locally and large budgets to accommodate first-class airfares for observers and moderators however. It's really just too much of a hassle for the participants as well. Over at Rockhopper, we still get tons of qual work requests from our clients, probably because we are able to provide quality research on a global scale for considerably lower costs. The "traditional" methods are not dying, they are just changing, and if you can't change with the times, you get left behind and irrelevant. Simple as that really.

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