Meredith’s Silver Bullet: Leading with Market Knowledge and Innovation. Women are Talking. We are Listening.
At the January 2009 ARF Industry Leader Forum, Kim Dedeker challenged our industry to bring back the human element in market research. She argued that listening—genuinely hearing and heeding consumer voices—is no longer a core competency and that we have come to over-rely on metrics, measurement, and evaluation. This approach is hurting market research in a number of ways. Our focus on measuring diverts our understanding away from the human experience that underlies our statistics; and as a result we are not getting the kinds of insights needed to produce actionable results, bottom or top line. In today’s world, staying relevant is the key to competitive advantage. Yet, one-sided efforts to reach consumers—direct mail, telephone calls, email spam—turn off rather than engage people. Moreover, consumer skepticism (coupled with the power to screen or block unwanted messages) has prompted people to reject our attempts. This rejection is evident in the falling participation rates that have frustrated market research for years.