I liked this post from the Research Rockstar blog, making the point that there will be a lot of people in an organisation doing “research-like” activities that they won’t neccessarily characterise as research: scavenging for insight on google, running quick polls and surveymonkey surveys, etc.
As Research Rockstar says, it’s best to embrace this kind of thing - though as with all knowledge management activities this is far easier said than done! In the comments, Simon of Curiously Persistent suggests that the real problem is consumer reaction when exposed to half-arsed research activity - this is certainly another reason to try and bring unauthorised activity ‘into the fold’.
I’ve been thinking about DIY research a bit recently, and one thing I’m surprised no big agency has done is move into the space in a “freemium” style: offering a free DIY research tool via their web presence and using it for lead generation. This would have a bunch of benefits:
- A direct revenue stream by selling eg. advanced analysis, access to sample
- Raising standards by building educational information into the tool
- Building relationships with potential clients (always the hardest part of the biz!)
- Access to some interesting data!
Working with this function would also be a good learning tool for junior research executives, and the whole thing could sit within the marketing and sales umbrella (certainly you could argue that it would be more cost-effective than the conference circuit, where clients are an increasing rarity - but that’s a whole other, and far more controversial post!)