Does Your Marketing Research Pass This Simple Test?


Clients often ask for our opinions on what makes an up-to-date research function. Aside from the obvious (high share, margins and loyalty), we usually ask the following questions. Give yourself twenty (20) points for each “yes.” Our interpretation of the summed score is at the end.

  1. Are your techniques truly customer-/buyer-centric? If they are based on data that proceed the purchase, give yourself a “yes.” If they are based on past purchase behavior, it’s more difficult to gain a marketplace advantage since your competitors will have access to the same data, whether through your vendor or others, give yourself a “no.”
  2. Do your techniques consistently explain why your brand and its competitors are purchased? If you have heard the same reasons for purchase more than once, give yourself a “no.” Your competitors have heard them too. If you are hearing fresh explanations that are improving in their predictive ability, give yourself a “yes.”
  3. Are your research results directly linked to effective interventions including innovation?
    If this requires an analysis of a committee to answer, give yourself a “no.” If it’s clear which techniques are providing you with a demonstrable marketplace gain, give yourself a “yes.”
  4. Are the value of your deliverables demonstrably better than your competition? 
    Although this sounds like something difficult to obtain, your competitor colleagues will tell you whether or not what they use is producing what they need without telling you what it is or how that insight is obtained. If yours are and theirs are not, give yourself a “yes.”
  5. Are your techniques proprietary with unique pedigrees of disciplines and concepts?
    If no, they or some variant are being duplicated or reverse engineered by your competitors, so give yourself a “no.” If “yes,” your intelligence is protected by heavy investment costs and a long development ramp-up, thereby enhancing their longevity and value.

Summed score interpretation:

80–100Good job, eliminate that one “no” if you have one; gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace .

40–60Look out, someone is selling you “damaged research goods;” consider getting a new research plan.

0–20Danger, your competition accessed your insights last year; consider getting a new research team.

If you would like to know how MINDGUIDE℠ could improve your score on each of the five questions above, review our cases or email us at

ResearchTim Gohmann, Ph.D.