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Don’t We All Want To Be Like Japanese Research Companies?

One of the things I look forward to every year is the Honomichl Top 50 and top 25 Global Research Organizations. The two reports are published during the summer, year after year in AMA Marketing News. We are probably a few weeks away from all receiving the top 25 Global Research Organization list.

One of the things that is always amazing to me is revenue by employee. For years companies have used this as a metric and if you had revenue of over $200,000 per employee you were doing well.  Less than that you may have had some issues. I will admit that this isn’t a 100% scientific absolute, but more times than not it does hold true. In 2008 the numbers are higher than that and I have heard at conferences that executives are using a number of $250,000 as a benchmark.

When you look at revenue by employee, you will see a few companies that exceed the rest. In 2005 the companies with the highest revenue per employee were:


Dentsu Research $517,000
Video Research $468,000
Nikkei Research $312,000
Arbitron $293,000

First of all, congratulations for all achieving this revenue per employee. Amazing. Do you see a trend? Ok. Read on and I will ask that question again.

In 2006 the companies with the highest revenue per employee were:

Dentsu Research $518,000
Video Research $436,000
Arbitron $315,000
Nikkei Research $298,000

It is interesting that the same four companies occupied the top four spots. When you look at the companies comparing the years, Dentsu was flat. Video Research and Nikkei slipped while Arbitron went up.

The real interesting thing to me is where these companies are located:

Dentsu Research Japan
Video Research Japan
Nikkei Research Japan
Arbitron New York

To me that is amazing. In the past few years (I am sure if I went back further the same thing is true) the companies with the highest revenue per employee last year are all located in the same country, all located in the same city and yes, all located outside of the United States. They are all based in Tokyo!

Ok I will be the first one to admit that our revenue at M/A/R/C Research isn’t $500,000 per person or even $400,000 per person but obviously I would like it to be.

Let’s all pause for a moment…

  • What are they doing right?
  • What are they doing that we aren’t doing?
  • Are they better researchers?
  • Are their services that much better than ours?

I look forward to hearing and learning from your thoughts and comments.

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