The motto 'the customer is always right' is a phrase pioneered by Harry Gordon
Selfridge, John Wanamaker and Marshall Field in the early 1900's. These men were
successful retailers who learned early in their careers that the success of their stores
depended on the happiness of their customers, and so the slogan has long been
regarded as the cornerstone of customer-centricity.
More importantly, a happy customer continues to 'buy', and thus we must recognise that
it is the customers who drive innovation, change and evolution, as otherwise they would
move their spend and their budgets to other suppliers, or indeed, other sectors. This is as
true for Insights and Analytics as it is for Financial Services, FMCG or Healthcare.
In a profession such as ours which has strong roots in science, rigour and ethics,
the growing demand for speed, instant feedback, and digital solutions that we have
witnessed in recent years, has often relegated a more fundamental understanding of how
our clients work and business needs are changing to a secondary importance; instead,
the emphasis has tended to be on the 'now' and securing the budget available, not the
'future' and how their needs may be evolving.
Recognising the fundamentally important role that brand-owners play in determining
the shape and structure of our profession, this study is the first in what we hope will
become an annual monitor establishes a first benchmark of how insights are viewed
and commissioned within brand-owning organisations, and the key criteria applied to
what is considered 'good' and 'successful' research.