NEWS26 May 2011

SAMRA calls for clear line between MR and marketing

SOUTH AFRICA— The South African Marketing Research Association (SAMRA) is to meet government officials to discuss the country’s new Consumer Protection Act, which it says does not do enough to differentiate between research and marketing.

The act, which includes measures to protect consumers from unwanted marketing, came into effect last month. SAMRA is to meet the Department of Trade and Industry to call for its own code of conduct, which covers matters such as respondent consent, to be recognised as the industry standard, in a bid to differentiate market researchers more clearly from firms engaging in ‘sugging’ (selling under the guise of research).

SAMRA chair Elsa Thirion-Venter told Research that the accreditation of the association’s code as an industry standard would mean that, in the event of a complaint from a member of the public, legitimate market researchers who adhere to its guidelines would not be lumped in with companies that carry out sugging – which has long been a problem in the country.

Thirion-Venter said: “The confusion between marketing and marketing research has been causing a problem for researchers for a long time, and continues to do so.”

She added that SAMRA’s long-term aim is to administer an industry-wide do-not-call list so that people can opt out of receiving research calls from its members. This would make it easier to determine whether complaints related to legitimate research outfits or marketing firms operating under the guise of research. Currently, individual research agencies manage their own do-not-call lists.



12 years ago

I am not sure that we will be able to maintain a distinction between marketing and MR much longer. We might be able to prevent MR professionals being involved in marketing, but we can't stop marketing subsuming most MR. From CRM, to immersion exercises, to communities, to social media monitoring firms are finding they get every larger amounts of their insight from marketing, not from standalone market research. If MR cuts itself off from this process we will be an ever decreasing sector, When I was a lad there were lots of coal merchants, but now they are very rare, because almost nobody buys coal, in the future (maybe the near future) very few organisations will want to buy standalone market research.

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12 years ago

its heartening to see South Africa and the German industry actively taking a pro-active role in promoting and defending the industry. I am aware of some 'MR' agencies that are willing to carry out promotions, PR, recruit opinion leaders etc. which are unethical as per ESOMAR guidelines. Ray's point above is about evolution of MR agencies (again about death of MR) - but is not relevant to this discussion, unless he foresees the industry bodies changing their ethical standards completely and participating in sales calls and promotions?

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