Managers often say that research is too sluggish, too expensive, inaccurate and vague. There is simply no time for it. Or they might add that a survey has no role to play in understanding what will come next - not even customers can predict the future. The decision to commission research often involves a mixture of rational and more emotional considerations. Managers increasingly see research as the best way to obtain information about their markets, clients and the future. What about the effectiveness of the tools used? Compared with the era of face-to-face research and more physical contact with the neighbour - our respondent - the business environment has become more complex, although there are also more sources of information and some very powerful analytical tools available. The increasing investments made in market research around the world are a good measure of the growing interest in what it can potentially deliver. Over the years - or so it seems - certain challenges have remained constant. For example, providers have to deal with an increasing non-response rate, which is now also a rapidly growing problem for online research. For the user there remains the task of constantly having to demonstrate the added value of research. In this issue of Research World, we talk to a number of clients about the benefit of research in a more general sense, as well as in terms of branding, growth and innovation.