Executive concerns as we recover from a pandemic

Remember the 1990s? Sabeer Bhatia founded and sold the dotcom success story Hotmail. Back then, the use cases, applications, and spirit of entrepreneurship predicted a revolution well ahead of its time. A cultural change like that needed to simmer and evolve. Something that took decades to evolve and is ripe for disruption today. Today, the pandemic-style working from home needs to be carefully crafted to promote a hybrid virtual model.  Which is, when some employees are on-premise while others work from home. But today, there’s a tectonic cultural change in market research firms that we’ve been left to grapple with overnight.

A survey by Gartner of 127 leaders from HR, Legal & Compliance, Finance, and Real Estate, reported 82% intend to permit remote work indefinitely and 47% intend to keep it a norm going forward. The Vice President of Advisory Elisabeth Joyce reported, “The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a huge experiment in widespread remote working.” She went on to say that business leaders are evaluating more permanent remote working arrangements to meet employee expectations and resilience in business operations. This trend stretches well beyond Silicon Valley and the past few months have given us all the time to reflect and contour our lives around a new way of life.

This new model promises a lot. For example, there’s greater access to talent, increased productivity, smaller teams, more flexibility, and improved employee experience. And not to mention lower costs for larger companies who can slash budgets on reduced real-estate, and migrating to consulting models of employment. 

Cultural change as executive concerns 

But what does this spell for market research firms as a whole and how market research is conducted today? How do we adapt to cultural change in market research firms?

The system-wide shift in culture is an executive concern. To fulfill evolving demands, top-level management owes it to employees and customers to champion this revolution. Thought leadership in market research calls for transparency, safety, and empathy. And hands-on leadership at your company demands setting the vision, prioritizing the right relationships, and simplifying dynamics that exist between people, processes, prices, metrics, incentives, and promotion channels.

Know your customer

It’s a great time to conduct a good old-fashioned segmentation analysis. Customer profiling today needs nuanced research. We look for changing needs, behaviors, and concerns of customers first. Then we to adjust logistics and communication to meet their practical and emotional goals.

Craft your value proposition

Staying relevant in the new world means being of value with rapid decision-making power, market research, and consumer insights. People are focusing on social media like never before and your brand’s message must stand out from the clutter and your competitors. Other elements that influence your differentiators are the kind of behavior insights you have, your distribution channels for research, competitive pricing models, and your ability to foster communities.

Motivate your employees

Your insights are as good as your research team. While you figure out a way to align your company’s metrics and people’s incentives, navigating through their experience of the situation can help you resound with the whole organization. The shift to a remote workforce has helped slash budgets. It has also brought in greater access to talent across the world with more sustainable models of employment.

Retain your customer

As we ease back into normalcy, there’s no better time to stay relevant and salient while being poised for recovery. For instance, you track your efforts in the past few months. And make decisions for the future based on the performance. Study your high-value customers, track customer defection and retention levels, and keep an eye on your competitors.

Establish processes 

A successful company in the digital globe relies more on change management than strategy or just technology. A strategy gives you the balcony view and technology supports the change. But staying relevant implies the need to be dynamic, to reassess, adapt, and fine-tune from our initial response to the pandemic. Brands are changing fundamental processes of operation, communication, transactions, logistics, people management, and corporate culture. While goals are good for direction, instituting processes that work best for you can help you progress.

Like author James Clear puts it,

‘You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.

Cultural change in market research firms is about the survival of the fittest all over again. It isn’t the smartest or the strongest that will survive but the ones that are most adaptive to change.