OPINION22 October 2009

Your workout with the MR Motivator


With handy tips, encouragement, and lots of exclamation marks, motivational speaker Gwyn Taylor offers the tired market research world a bit of a boost.

I was attending the Training & Motivational Congress of Southern Wales in cosmopolitan Mumbles just the other day when a gentleman approached me and asked if I, Gwyndaf Taylor>>International Motivator, would be willing to share a few of my motivational tips with a market research audience. Having been heavily involved in the industry, first as a practitioner in the 1980s, and latterly as guru-in-chief to many of its leading lights, I’m only too happy to oblige. So what nuggets can I offer those needing a Taylor top up?

1. Say ‘insight’ more

I’m always telling people the industry needs to make more use of the term ‘insight’. After all, isn’t that the ultimate benefit of all this research we’re doing? People say to me, “No, Gwyn.” They say, “It’ll be a recipe for utter confusion with people appropriating the term left, right and centre, twisting it and jemmying it in to whatever crap they’re pushing.”

“Next thing you know,” they warn me, “even the research departments will have a rebrand, which of course they won’t bother to research. You’ll get a profusion of ‘customer insight functions’ and ‘consumer insights managers’, and before you know it the whole industry will be fretting ceaselessly about whether research will ever permeate The Boardroom until eventually the whole damn show disappears up its own fundament!”

“Balderdash!” I say back. We have a saying back in Gwent, where I was suckled, which, roughly translated from the Welsh, goes: “Go on, give it a go, why don’t we?”

2. Be proud of who you are

“Tell yourself over and over as you go to sleep at night: ‘I really am very, very good with data.’”

A lot of people deride market researchers as pedants and dullards who couldn’t see the big picture if it was blown up to A1 size, stuck on a slice of Kappa board and presented to them as if it were a piece of stimulus material. But if you are a pedant or a dullard, embrace it! Look for ways to turn the idea to a positive. Tell yourself over and over as you go to sleep at night: “I really am very, very good with data.” I mean, a lot of my former clients tell me that motivational trainers pedal a lot of overblown puff and nonsense that even someone with heroic levels of self-knowledge and self-discipline would struggle to implement in their daily lives. I just remember my market research training, and say with a smile: “Thank you for your views. I’ll be sure to put them into the report.”

3. The old world of qual vs. quant is dead!

This is great news for market research, and even more so for market researchers, as you no longer need to remember which is which. If asked whether you are a qually or a quanty, just say you believe that, going forward, leveraging a synergy of the two is the truly forward-looking way forward. Being forced to choose between qual and quant is like deciding whether to listen to Chris Rea or Meatloaf on a long drive out west on the M4. They both have their respective strengths, but they are in some ways different. For example, Chris Rea would do anything for love, including “that”. Lucky Mrs Rea. If pushed on your area of specialism, answer that you are a ‘qualti’ and move away quickly to avoid further challenge.

4. Everything in moderation

That’s an old focus group joke. It never failed to raise a chuckle in the Swansea Qualitative Researchers’ Cooperative bar, back in the day. It’s right up there with the old BASES gags: “If you’re in modelling how come you’re so ugly?” and “You call yourself an econometrician and you can’t even wire a plug!” That last one was one of my own, look you.

5. Keep it complicated, clever clogs! (or KICCC)

My KICCC maxim is Taylor-made for the market research world. So you’ve got an internal client whining about death by PowerPoint? You can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be the first to heckle you with cries of “Is that score significant?” the day you opt to spend a bit of time thinking about the story instead of marking up the charts. KICCC says a good PowerPoint slide should look like my tax return. Though obviously with more accurate data.

So there we have it. I suppose I’d better conclude with a conclusion, and offer my recommendations. It’s that old classic I’m afraid: more research needed. Let’s keep ourselves in a job now comrades!

Gwyn Taylor>>International Motivator is the creation of a senior research professional, who will remain nameless, in the employ of an organisation which will remain nameless. He can more usually be found on the comedy circuit, and is available (with or without PowerPoint slides) for speaking engagements and compering. For more information, please contact gwyntaylor1960@googlemail.com.