Most market research goes unused because market research professionals are too busy doing the projects, analyzing, sometimes with advanced stats, and putting together a 75-page power point deck to present results. Market researchers need to learn how to tell their story. The audience is impressed, but overwhelmed, wondering, “So What? and What can I do about it?”

Sometimes, in a market research presentation, the audience feels like a patient in a doctor’s office. The doctor looks grim while reading out a bunch of medical reports and telling his patient, “Your BP is high, your cholesterol is well above normal, sugar is borderline, you failed the hi-tech stress test. your weight and eating habits leave much to be desired.” The patient is in panic wondering, “What does this mean? Am I dying?” How refreshing it would be, if the doctor started out as follows:


  • You are lucky, you now have an opportunity to get back to good health, and prevent heart problems. Here are test results that have raised some red flags
  • Do you have any ideas of how you can restore your good health? Shall we brainstorm some ideas?
  • Here’s some thoughts: a healthy diet including low salt and low sugar foods, exercise routine and some relaxation techniques.
  • Would you be interested in nutritional guidance? Hospital X offers some free programs – would you be interested?

The patient walks out with a key takeaway message and knows what to do about it. Similarly, if market research presenters translated data into intelligence, and brainstormed with clients/audience to arrive at the insights, then the recommendations will be a natural outcome. If audience is not involved from the very start of the study and if the researcher does not take an interest in the business, then the recommendations are done in a vacuum and of limited value to client. There are some very interesting techniques like, Decision Pyramid, Patterning, that facilitates the process.

Research without insights is like medical readings without a diagnosis and a collaborative treatment plan. Learning to tell their story is the most critical skill for any market researcher – this is what will influence decisions.