10 Things That REALLY Scare Market Researchers

To commemorate Halloween, I submit to you this list of 10 things that REALLY scare market researchers.

If you’re expecting goblins or ghosts, Frankenstein or Dracula, you’re mistaken.

For market researchers, there are things that are much scarier.

Read at your own risk…Boo!

1. Inexplicable data anomalies. Sometimes there’s an anomalous pattern in your data, and you simply can’t figure out where it’s coming from. Unfortunately, you’ve ruled out statistical noise and sampling error.

2. Yawns from the C-suite. You’ve worked for months on a project. You present to the senior corporate leaders, and they’re clearly not paying attention.

3. Clients with personality issues. Most clients are wonderful, understanding, kind – and even cool. But some are holy terrors. Watch out!

4. Falling behind. You are so focused on the type of work you are doing, that all of a sudden years go by and there are a whole bunch of new methods which you don’t understand.

5. Termination. Clients fire research companies, corporations fire internal researchers, and research companies fire researchers. It completely sucks, and sometimes it happens to good researchers.

6. Data collection failures. You get a sheepish call from your data collection partner. They start saying things like “I don’t know how this could have happened,” “we’ve already taken proactive measures to make sure this never happens again,” and “I will make this up to you.” Meanwhile, you’re screwed.

7. Unexpected mergers. Out of nowhere, your company is bought and your position is now duplicative. Or if you’re a research company, your best client is bought by its competitor.

8. Technology replacements. In my view, technology will never take away the need for a good analyst. Yet this fear is pervasive among researchers.

9. Presenting without a net. You work painstakingly on a presentation, and for some reason when it comes time to present, there’s an issue loading or projecting the PowerPoint. Now you have to speak extemporaneously.

10. The new guy/girl. You have been working for client for many years, either internally as a corporate researcher or externally as a research firm. Now you catch wind that there’s a new guy/girl flirting with your client. Jealousy is a form of fear, and it can lead to some bad decisions.

What are your greatest fears as a researcher?

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About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.

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