I will not say that these are some magic questions that can enhance your researching power but yes these are very practical ones that you should be asking yourself. It is imperative in your journey that at every milestone you take stock of your progress – check whether you are on the right track or not and even if you have wandered away a bit what corrective measures needs to be taken. These questions will be your guide to become a market research superstar so try to answer them honestly.
Question 1 – Are my basics crystal clear to me?
In your quest for excellence it is of utmost importance that you have a clear understanding of the fundamentals. In case you have ignored to get the basics right you are for sure encounter a lot more challenges.
This is a universal truth and is applicable to every situation. I have come across many market researchers in my career who can talk about formulating big research strategies but when it comes to proper understanding of the research objective they have no clue.
A smart market researcher will always first check whether they are clear about the fundamentals of research before they embark upon their journey to become successful. You should possess good numeracy and literacy skills, competence with computers and statistical models, the ability to see patterns and trends, and an interest in human behaviour.
An inference is the end result of a process therefore stop thinking too much about the end and get the beginning clearly defined first to achieve the correct inference.
Once you are 100% SURE that you have been able to identify the skill sets required and the planning tools that are critical for a research process – only than you can be confident of delivering results.
Question 2 – What are the factors that are depleting my productivity?
One of my research colleagues was facing reduction in productivity for a long period of time. He had tried to analyze it thoroughly but was unable to identify the root cause of the problem. His team was always putting in lots of effort but the results were the contrary.
One day while discussing the issue with the IT department head he came to know that many of his team members were wasting productive time on playing games in the office and in updating their Facebook wall.
He quickly got the IT team to ban such activities and warned the team too about such fruitless indulgences.
To his surprise the productivity increased over a period of few months back to what it was before.
There are lots of times when we encounter problems we try to look at the bigger picture and miss small details that are causing it. If there is a problem it simply means that there is a specific reason for it and also that a solution is available.
Your job is to find out the reasons that are causing the issue, the right solution in most cases will be easy to implement. In a research career there are innumerable factors that can hamper your growth. A smart market researcher will be quick to pinpoint it and implement the corrective measures for the same.
Question 3 – Do I need to upgrade my skill sets?
I have mentioned it 1000 times that a great market researcher is not born instead they acquire the requisite skills for the same. After you have got your basics right it is imperative to understand whether you need to update the skills you currently have.
The journey to become master researcher is an ongoing one. No market researcher in this world can claim that they know it all. Even the experienced ones also need to be in touch with the latest developments in the research arena. What if a new technology has been introduced in the market which can boost your productivity?
It is all makes sense to be in touch with the current trends.
If you encounter continued dip in the quality of you research insights ask yourself – do I need to update my basic skills?
For example you may be really good with analytical skills but when it comes to business awareness and knowledge of different markets you are at sea.
After few years in this line of work when your responsibilities and work load increases there are many market researchers who are unable to cope with it and the ‘learning’ part takes a back seat.
Here they will have to acquire new skills to enhance their productivity. Asking the right questions and searching for an honest solution is the right way to succeed in your market research career.
Question 4 – Do I have the X FACTOR in me?
Now that you have acquired basic skills and have even enhanced them too – the time has come to look for the X factor that will propel your market research career into a different league. Just stand still for a moment and try to look at the larger picture.
You will find that there is a common pattern to identify skills of great researchers. Look at what you are missing right now, try to find out what is that makes a great researcher truly great. You should closely follow the work routine of great researchers, there must be something that they are doing it so right that every insight they provide is priceless.
What if you are good with interpersonal skills but you realize that you sorely lack the ability to to work well as part of a team. It may be that the ability to remain flexible is preventing you to achieve true greatness.
It is good to understand a client’s problem in totality but how it needs to be effectively mapped and relevant solution achieved that gives you an extra edge. Find out the factors that can help you edge past your competitors in the field.
There is always a time in the learning curve that you hit a plateau. This is exactly when a great market researcher will pull out a rabbit from the hat and leave the competition behind.
Now your job is simple – learn the trick!
No one is perfect and those that start assuming that they have perfected the craft are in for a big fall. The more you question the status quo the more ways will you find to leap beyond the competitor’s reach.
Don’t shy away from tough questions after all it is your career at stake.
Akshay Kanyal writes survey research reviews on his popular blog Online MR. He’s an avid blogger, brand consultant and a content marketing expert, helping business owners to craft content that sells.
He provides content marketing advice to start-ups and innovation driven companies. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org