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Release MR from clutches of margin squeeze: Andre Nair

27-March-2004
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Release MR from clutches of margin squeeze: Andre Nair

Market research (MR) needs a fresh coat of paint. The traditional MR tools are not likely to provide cutting-edge solutions. Instead, the need of the hour is to think out of the box, as well as develop new ways to gauge the pulse of customers across all segments. Andre Nair, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Group M, underscored the need to infuse fresh ideas into MR while addressing the industry professionals at the 15th Annual Market Research Seminar organised by Market Research Society of India (MRSI) in Gurgaon today.

He observed that MR is getting increasingly complex but no obvious solutions are coming out of the efforts. He attributed this in part to the limited investments that are made available for the efforts. Elaborating on this, he said that the agencies are coming under constant pressure from clients over margins. This, he felt, diluted the net outcome of various MR initiatives.

Nair emphasised the need to bring new kinds of researchers to the domain. He urged the professionals to go beyond generating output on the basis of historical data and encouraged them to develop an outlook for the clients.

Some of these thoughts were seen in the presentations that followed at the seminar. To illustrate, in session one on ‘Exploring Opportunity’, Nita Gopal, Associate Vice President, PQR, IMRB International, Mumbai, along with Prasenjit Bhattacharya, Project Director, presented a case-study on gauging and segregating mindsets of women while carrying out an MR for a retail outlet. Taking the cue that people respond differently to the same stimulus, the team undertook a value-based segmentation of customer identities. The results of the study proved that conventional wisdom about women’s choices regarding retail stores were not in sync with the actual responses.

Sridevi Rao, Research Director, CSMM, IMRB International, in her presentation on ‘Driving customer choice through employee focus’ provided insights on how efforts to enhance employee satisfaction in a given case had yielded rich dividends for the organization.

Clearly, the various case studies that were presented at the seminar underlined the fact that MR agencies were indeed looking at new ways to address the client needs. But, there’s still some distance to cover in terms the investments that clients are willing to make to facilitate much more robust MR.

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