Client Point of View--With Jami Guthrie

September 28, 2007

What is your most memorable research project you have ever worked on?

It was a segmentation study in an adjacent category that we (as a company) knew very little about. The reason that it is my most memorable is because the learning was completely new and so insightful. It allowed us to look at our brands and the opportunities through a completely different lens. It was great to see how engaged everyone in the company was with the learning and more importantly, how quickly we took action against it.

How would you categorize the state of online research?

I would call it "developing". At Wrigley we manage the Consumer Insight function on a global basis, so depending on what region we are operating in, we use on-line research very differently. For instance in Russia and China we are still using it on more of experimental basis given our consumer targets and the internet penetration of those countries. Our challenges there are quite different vs. North America and Western Europe where our use of the internet is our dominant data collection methodology.

Is Ethnography playing a bigger role in your research plans? If so, how?

It sure is. We are continuing to put much more emphasis on including consumer input early on in a new marketing/product initiative to make sure everything we do is rooted in consumer and category insight. We talk about it as one of our many "feed the gut" initiatives where the sole objective is to improve our consumer understanding/instincts so we rely less on tactical research evaluation later in the development cycle.

What do you think is the greatest need in the market research industry?

Wow, that's a great question. I guess my answer would be the industry's need to attract a constant flow of great young talent into the field. When I recruit MBA's on-campus there still is a low level awareness of what a career in Marketing Research looks like. Furthermore, a lot of the great young talent that I meet on the supplier and client side tended to "stumble" across the field in one way or another (and are quite happy that they did so). Hence, I would like to see the industry get a lot more intentional about promoting itself and attracting the best talent into the field.

What type of research are you most frustrated with regarding it's ROI?

The research that we conduct when we really already know the answer!! J

How would you characterize the quality of the deliverables in 2007 vs. previous years?

For us, the quality of the deliverables from our research partners has definitely gotten stronger over the years. As with most companies, we simply don't have enough resources to do everything we want to do, so one of the initiatives we employ is to bring our key research partners as far "upstream" as possible. In doing so, these partners gain a deeper knowledge about our business, learn the internal processes/quirks of the system, and know how to influence key constituents. That certainly helps drive the quality of the deliverable and lightens the load on my internal team.

From your standpoint what is the hottest trend in market research?

The idea of "co-creation" with consumers as it relates to communication and new product development. I'm seeing lots of proprietary consumer panels and "communities" being deployed in an effort to involve consumers early on in the process.

What research conferences do you think you will you be attending in 2008?

The ARF for sure. Beyond that, I haven't really given it any thought at all.

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