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What I’d like in my Christmas stocking

I’m hoping that Santa is going to stuff my stocking with a case of champagne and one of those glittery, sequined dresses that are all over the shops this year.

Apart from that, I’m wondering if he has the power to make the following magically appear in my office over Christmas:

1000 names and email addresses

I’d like 1000 names and email addresses of senior market researchers from around the world.  At meaning we conduct an annual online survey about market research technology and every year it becomes a little bit harder to achieve our goal of 230 completes, which should not come as a complete surprise since as the survey has pointed out in both of the last two years that ‘falling response rates’ is the top challenge the industry faces.  This means that one of my personal top challenges is building en ever longer list of people to invite to take part in the survey.

In my gift-wrapped Christmas box of sample, I’d particularly like some from France because, even though we translate the questionnaire into French, for some reason, our response rate in France is far lower than everywhere else. In 2008, 7% of our French sample completed the questionnaire, whereas in other countries this figures was typically between 10 and 20%. And I’d also like to ask Santa for Japanese sample because we quite simply never get enough of it!

And why bother Santa with this awesome task, when we have panel  providers, I hear you cry. Aren’t they ideal for wheedling out those hard-to-find groups? Yes, but this is just too specific even for them.  The thing is, our survey is about trends and issues in the use of market research software, so while we are happy for the IT boss, the Research Director or even the CEO to complete the questionnaire, it is no use if the HR, Finance or Marketing Manager participates (since they have nothing or very little to do with MR technology issues). We have had some success with panel providers in the past, and believe me, they have certainly tried hard, but the number of completes they brought in, while extremely valuable, never quite matched their effort.

A new piece of tabulation and charting software that hasn’t yet been written

Talking of our annual technology survey, I don’t know if elves are good at programming, but I would really like a new piece of market research software that produces a few cross tabs and publication-ready charts without having to endure a week of blood, sweat and tears to create them.

Once we have finished the fieldwork, Tim Macer and I have an annual battle with Microsoft Excel, which we do always win, largely thanks to Tim’s superior level of skill with the aforementioned package.  We have tried some market research specific packages, but have always fallen back on Excel because that’s what we have to provide the charts in to the various publishers… To be honest, Excel is not setting the bar very high, so maybe Santa’s little helpers can come up trumps.

So, champagne, a sparkly dress, 1000 names and email addresses and some brand new software. I think that is a modest wish list.

Now available! Birks & Macer’s MR reference text

A major new reference text on marketing research has just been published by Routledge. Entitled “Marketing Research: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management, it has been edited by Dr David Birks, University of Southampton and Tim Macer, meaning ltd (shown above l-r, holding the first copies of their new book.

The work is a scholarly reference text comprising an anthology of 100 seminal papers on just about every aspect of market research from theory to practice. It charts the development of the subject since its early days in the 1940s. The edition forms a part of Routledge’s Master Works series, which are often found in major academic and reference libraries.

As Tim said: “We do feel that this work will be valuable to all students of market research, as it brings together so much thinking in the one place. Our publishers have done an excellent job. The four volumes are beautifully presented, and there is a fantastic index at the back which makes it especially easy to find just about any subject or method that exists in here.”

Tim will be presenting a copy of the four-volume book to the MRS reference library in February.