“Productivity and efficiency can be achieved only step by step with sustained hard work, relentless attention to details and insistence on the highest standards of quality and performance.”

J. R. D. Tata

Sometimes though, it’s not just about how well we deliver on our promise, but about what exactly it is we are delivering.  For us to really provide the best product we can, we must ensure that we are not only providing high quality insights and solutions, but also that we are providing relevant insights and solutions.  Further, the bar for keeping our clients satisfied is much lower than what we shoot for…  We want our clients to consider us a trusted and valued partner; one that is integrated into their business and is a key component of their success.

One of the ways we strive to do this is to stay current regarding industry trends and new innovations.  We focus on this in various ways.  Just today, we as a company, spent time reviewing and discussing the most recent GRIT report published by GreenBook.  This report is always a great resource as it takes a pulse of the industry from both the marketing research client and supplier’s perspective.

We entered this exercise with three objectives:
1 – Are we providing those services that are clients are looking for?  We can be exceptional at what we do and provide very high quality work, but if it’s not something that the client wants, or worse, if we are not providing what they need, then we need to re-evaluate our offerings.

2 – How well are suppliers in general satisfying the client’s needs?  This helps us determine if our struggles line up with the rest of the industry. In other words, if clients are overwhelmingly satisfied with suppliers in a particular area, yet we are struggling to succeed there, then that would be a disadvantage for us. In contrast, if we are delivering with high marks, then it becomes a competitive advantage that we need to leverage.

3 – Do we need to reevaluate what we are pursuing in terms of our own innovation, development and growth as a company?  Based on the discussion and findings around the first two objectives, what do we need to do differently?  What are we pursuing that we should consider letting go and what areas have we forgone that we need to revisit and begin addressing?  (This is directly related to my previous “Start, Stop, Continue” post.)

As a result of this exercise, we realized that several of the areas in which we are in the process of “sharpening our saw”, if you will, are right on track . We are building our skill set in the storytelling aspect and the overall consulting component of what we do.  It was helpful to see that these are both services that clients feel could still use some improvement.  We’re on the right path it appears.

One question that came up during our discussion was, “what type of client are we considering?”  We recognized that there are some clients that see suppliers more as “order takers” than partners.  While we typically engage more with the latter, we understand that different client types will have different expectations.

We also spent time dissecting the items that clients find relatively more important.  The list and resulting order is not entirely intuitive.  We need to process some of this information and have some further dialogue about the implications of some of the apparent disconnects.  But, this is what we do…  We gather information, we analyze and process it and then we make the best recommendations and decisions possible for what should happen next.  It’s all part of our ResearchWISE™ approach that we often turn inward, making us better, thus, benefitting our clients even more.

~ Marketing Workshop