This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. While not technically a holiday, here in the Midwest, it’s not only a celebration of Irish culture but also a milestone that winter is on its way out (hopefully). People will take to the streets in a sea of green to celebrate with parades, dancing and traditional Irish cuisine (does a Shamrock Shake count?). If you did not already know, wearing green is an American-born tradition that is supposed to ward off being pinched by leprechauns. But, if one gets close enough to you so you can capture it, legend has it that the leprechaun must use its magical powers to grant you three wishes–maybe even revealing its hidden pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
As research consultants, we always strive to deliver a pot of gold to our clients in the form of valuable research, insight and consulting that leads to a better customer experience or a new and improved product that will increase engagement and brand trust. However, the only way to accomplish this is to be ever mindful that if we take our eye off the leprechaun, it could change from being good luck to becoming sneaky and confusing, making us lose sight of our objectives and pointing us away from the pot of gold.
In the energy industry, for example, changes have really ramped up over the past several years as many utilities focus on preparing for the customer of the future and topics like renewable energy, electric vehicles, energy management systems and smart metering. These market shifts–and the competition it brings from outside companies–are leading Market Strategies and our clients to adapt the approaches we use gather information and measure the performance that truly drives confident business decisions.
It is critical for energy utilities to introduce measures of continuous improvement into the research they conduct. Fulfilling changing business needs of research will be most successful if you think about your research programs in the context of the following questions:
- Think of the last ten requests you received from your internal clients or stakeholders. Are there any common themes? How well equipped is the current research to answer these questions? Can the current research be adapted to meet these needs, without compromising its overarching objectives?
- Is the research talking to the right customers or segments? Should new techniques or methodologies be used as customers continue to adopt new communications channels and habits?
Just as leprechauns hide their gold, only revealing the secret location if captured, your research should be designed or adapted to locate the right customers and segments, asking them the right questions and using the right techniques to locate your company’s pot of gold. As a researcher, the following Irish saying sums it up – “May you have the hindsight to know where you have been, the foresight to know where you are going and the insight to know when you have gone too far.”
If you’d prefer to rely on sound research as opposed to hunting for leprechaun, please email me.
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