"Judgment doesn't walk off the field when research walks on."
A former boss of mine - a most impressive and charismatic
businessman - told me that many years ago and I've remembered it ever
since. Thanks, Dick, I haven’t forgotten.
It reminds us that, at its best, what market research must
do is reveal fresh insights specifically on target to the most pressing
strategic marketing issues on the table. Then, that vital and
indispensable thing: managerial judgment, can be exercised with more
confidence, amid fewer risks and less uncertainty (one hopes, much less
uncertainty) than otherwise.
That was during my gig at the “Citi That Never Sleeps” many years
ago. Ironically and subsequent to that memorable moment with Dick (and after he
had left us), my team was conferring with a Marketing user group some days after
we’d presented and discussed results from a market research project for their
product. A series of questions followed of these types: “What do we do now?”, “Yeah
but…?”, “What else?”, “What about…?”, such that I was invited to propose yet another
research project on the matter. I replied we’d just given them fresh, conclusive findings, whereupon I added: “Where’s the
‘D’ in the ‘R’ and ‘D’?”