I’ve been writing about that I think the Market Research function may be headed for oblivion. This topic was discussed at the recent PharmaMR conference in Parsippany NJ,(both in my presentation and others) and now there is an article in Medical Marketing and Media that picks up on the same themes If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it, although it’s focus is broad and it seems pretty depressing.
Although this article touches on many things including the BRIC countries and on sales force compensation, I want to focus back on primary market research that is intended to affect sales. If you have read my earlier posts, you may be familiar with my argument, but I’ll repeat it for emphasis.
It is my contention that the internal market research function doesn’t recognize their own point of power – they don’t recognize the importance of the interaction in providing value and they don’t recognize the importance of innovation.
Market Research departments pay lip service to the concept of “insight” but don’t know what to do to get better insights. Instead they have gotten caught in a trap, a trap partially of their own making, that is now squeezing them harder and harder than ever before. Until a few years ago, it didn’t hurt too much, but the cost cutting pressures have made everything more intense, until now it is starting to hurt and the potential endgame of oblivion is becoming more obvious.
An interesting exchange in the question and answer period after a key note speech at the PharmMR conference added something useful to the discussion so I want to highlight it. The exchange started when a veteran corporate market researcher lamented that this conversation about how to improve Pharma MR had been recycled over and over again for 20 years or so with no change, so why did we think this time would be different? In response, another corporate market researcher threw out an idea – how much of the problem was due to the fact that the field attracts introverts?
That made me think. If I am right that at least part of the problem is that corporate market research departments aren’t recognizing that they need to value and improve the quality of their interactions, it makes perfect sense that introverts would be people who would have problems doing that. Duh! Introverts like spending time alone, thinking, rather than talking with others. A typical introvert is drained with they spend lots of time with other people, and need time to recover. Thus these introverted corporate market researchers may be setting up situations in which they don’t have to spend lots of time talking to other people. It seems to make sense.
But let’s take it one step further. Are corporate Pharma Market Research Departments particularly vulnerable to being staffed with introverts because of the way MR is treated as a training ground for Marketing? (In my former career in packaged goods, this didn’t happen as often….) Are the more extroverted colleagues likely to leave for Marketing, leaving their more introverted colleagues behind, making Corporate Pharma MR Departments even more likely to be staffed with introverts than even their non-Pharma Corporate brothers and sisters?
Readers, what do you think? Are Pharma Corporate Market Research Departments filled with introverts? If so, is that a problem?