Can Research Really Be “Fascinating”?!

July 21, 2009 at 2:30 PM Leave a comment

I just finished listening to an American Marketing Association (AMA) webinar entitled “What’s Fascinating About Market Researchers”. Led by Mike Brown, the VP of Marketing at YRC Worldwide (his Brainzooming Blog can be found here) and Sally Hogshead, author of “Radical Careering”.

Sally’s new book about Fascination (Available on Amazon Here) Mostly applies to how companies use the concept of fascination to market their products, but the speakers attempted to make it applicable to how market researchers “sell” their research insights up the ladder to executive management. 

In a way, as a Director of Research, I am responsible for creating a brand around myself so that my managers, co-workers and clients trust what I have to say and put my ideas and insights into action.  For researchers, the heart of what we do is answering questions. However, early on in my career, I’ve experienced many times where the answers I provided were discarded or discredited.  Many times, to my delight, I often found my exact insights discovered by research turned out to be true, but it was to no avail for my company.  Over time, I’ve learned how to position and brand myself as a trusted source of information, leading my “clients” (that is, my co-workers, managers and sales clients) to be more willing to accept my insights and research on site.

How can a market researcher develop that trust, and thus develop their brand?  This webinar did have some interesting insights.  The main point I jumped onto was the concept of fascination, which, when it comes down to it, fascination is a way of captivating your audience’s attention so that your message is heard. Why is this necessary in this day and age?  Because people are overwhelmed and distracted.  We are offered too much choice in our lives, from products to buy to the ways we can choose to spend our time.  One study by the BBC News revealed that, due to web browsing, the average attention span of an adult has diminished from 20 minutes to 9 seconds (  Nine seconds is roughly the same attention span as a goldfish. 

For researchers, our key job is too wade through mounds of data to provide answers to questions. Our “clients” asking those questions do NOT need any more data in their lives.  In this ADD World we live in, I believe the less is more approach is more effective.  The most talented research directors I know have the ability to wade through the mounds of data to find that ONE piece of data that answers the question, and present it in a way to the question asker in a way that earns their attention and commands their respect.  Knowing that my senior manager’s mind is being pulled in a thousand different ways, I have use my 9 seconds of attention time to fascinate and captivate my reader so that they will HEAR the answer to their question, REMEMBER the answer and insights and insight ACTION on their part.

Later on, I use another blog post to go through the seven triggers for fascination, and how they apply to marketing and the media world, so keep checking back. Apparently, I’ve only got 9 seconds of your attention, so short and sweet and directly to the point is where I need to be!

PS.  If you are interested in viewing this FREE webinar offered by the AMA, visit and click “View this Content”.


Entry filed under: General Research.

My Favorite Market Research Related Quotes Newspapers were the iPods of 1690

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