Skip to main content
Search form
  • 00:09

    [MUSIC PLAYING][Doing Market Research in a Firm--Research Narrative]

  • 00:16

    TRACEY CASTLE: Hi, I'm Tracey Castle, Managing Directorof Research Narrative, [Tracey Castle, Managing Director,Research Narrative] a small boutiquefirm in Los Angeles, where we focus mostlyon media and entertainment clients,but also have expanded out to helping clientswith communication and strategy.I got involved with market researchprobably like most people do-- they fall into it.It's not something you actually really go and study,

  • 00:39

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: although now today they do.But back when I was getting in, itwasn't really part of it some sort of curriculum or anythingthat you did.I used to be what's called a brand strategist,and I worked for a company called TBWACHIATDAY.They're well-known for the Energizer bunny.They created the Apple campaign, lots and lots.

  • 00:60

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: I worked on several of their accounts.And in there, as an account planner,you really get to learn and understand who the consumer is.And naturally, you start to do consumer research.And so I fell into it.After I left CHIATDAY, I wanted to learn a little bit moreabout market research.And I ended up going to a company calledLieberman Research Worldwide, which was really well-known

  • 01:22

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: for quantitative research.And I got really great hands-on training there,and they taught me everything I need to knowabout quantitative data.I'd already known a lot about qualitative.And from there, you know, the rest is history.Everyone falls into it.And it's usually from some sort of other discipline

  • 01:44

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and/or curiosity that people might have.The purpose of market research is really critical.It's our bread and butter.We have three things that we do at Research Narrative,where we focus on primary custom research--and I'll get into that in just a second.We also help with storytelling and bringing people upto the next level.And the third part is consulting.

  • 02:05

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And sometimes those all work together,and other times they don't.But really, the purpose of market research in generalis really to help businesses make critical decisionsand give them the competence they need to make decisions.And how do we do that?We go out and ask questions that our clients might be askingor businesses might be asking.

  • 02:27

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: It could be, for example, somethingthat's simple and easy to ask as, "who is our clientand what did they like about our product?"Simple and easy to ask-- not as easy to figure out.So our company will come in and figure out those things.And we use market research to do that.There's several different types of tools in everybody's arsenal

  • 02:48

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: that does market research, from quantitative to qualitative.Quantitative research really focuses on, I want to say,the who, what, when, and where.And the qual focuses on the why.And so where our company comes inis we'll figure out the best laid planto address those questions.Sometimes there's a matter of budget.

  • 03:10

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: Other times, there's a matter of money.So there's always other different waysto attack a problem, but ideally you'reusing a combination of both-- the quantitativeand qualitative.You might do qual first and then quant and then qual.It's all sorts of--it really depends, like I said, on the different thingsthat you're trying to accomplish,

  • 03:30

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: as well as the timing and the budget.So market research is really important for our company,because it is our bread and butter.Obviously, that's how we make our money,and it's our primary focus.I mentioned earlier that we also do storytelling and consulting.But where market research is critical to businessesis it helps people make decisions.

  • 03:51

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So without it, I feel that people are justkind of going either with their gut, which sometimes is rightbased on people's past experienceand have been in the industry for a bit.But other times it's wrong.And a lot of times there are some really critical thingsthat are coming into play, and moneythat's being invested or made off of this.

  • 04:15

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: There's a lot riding on it.The quantitative part of things--there is several things that we needed to figure out.But one of which was really importantwas what was the product going to look likeand how much could we charge--and then coming back and making a case for it,so it could be green-lit.And if we did anything along the way thatwas going to be troublesome or maybe

  • 04:37

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: not done properly-- or not done with the right rigoris what I'm trying to say."Properly" wasn't the right word, but with the right rigor.Studios behind this particular game or franchisewere dependent on us to get it right,and we were about to invest into them or not.

  • 04:58

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So the fact if we did something wrong along the way,it's not just, oh, that didn't work out.It's people losing jobs and studios shutting down.That's like how important market research can be--or should be, you know, while you're thinking about things.It's just one way of people being able to make a decision.

  • 05:19

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: It's one input, but it's a really important inputfor people to have.I do all sorts of market research.Our company does.And I would say most market researchers todaydo a wide variety of market research.There's qualitative, and there's quantitative.That's where it kind of buckets into two different sections.

  • 05:42

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And within that, there are different types of research.So with qualitative-- I had mentionedbefore the quant is that who, what, when, and where,and the qual is really the why.So you might go out and do some quantitative researchwhere it could just be an A&U study, whichstands for awareness & usage.

  • 06:02

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So how many people are aware of this brand?And who's using it?And what did they like about it and what have you?The qualitative can come in and say,why did they like it, what drove themto there, what keeps them coming back, how could they be better.And so it's really more of a conversationthat you're having with your consumer.

  • 06:23

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: There are so many fun--fun-- things that you can do with market research.So I'm just going to quickly go through them and notget into too much detail, because there's a lot.But there's A&U studies.There's what we call a conjoint study, which is a trade-off.Think of an idea of where you might be saying "this or that?"

  • 06:44

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And we'll say, "OK, how about this or thatnow, and how about this one or this one?"And we can do the analysis behind the scenesto say, OK, when you were presenting these twodifferent options, price was most important.But then next, data speed was second and mobile minutes

  • 07:05

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: was third--whatever it might be.For qualitative, what you're trying to dois really reinvent and recreate the setting for a person.So you can simply go out and ask,you know, "what did you think of this?"and they'll write something in a quantitative survey.But you're really not getting to putting them backin that situation.

  • 07:25

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So sometimes you're doing what we call shop-alongs,where we bring people into the store and shop along with them.Or you might be shadowing them and looking at themand seeing what they're observing.By somebody just telling you something,you're getting their most rational response.By being there and experiencing things with them,you are getting more into the emotional component.

  • 07:47

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: Another great thing that qualitative doesis put people in that emotional setting.And with the emotional setting, you'regetting at really some of the drivers.When you can't afford the time to go shop alongwith every single consumer, sometimes webring them into what we call a focus group room, whereyou can set the setting for them or give them exercises to not

  • 08:11

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: think as rationally-- but just givingtheir subconscious answers, which helps us getto that emotional component.That's qualitative, and it's a lot of fun.Like I said, they really work really well together.I'll give you an example.One of the companies I'm working with rightnow is an up and coming wireless service provider.And they're brand new on the market.

  • 08:33

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And we were trying to figure out who their customer should beand what their products should be.And they had some hypotheses as to who it should be.And people thought perhaps maybe itwas somebody who was a lower economic social status.Other people thought, no, it's people coming from the biggercarriers.

  • 08:53

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And-- no, it's people who are looking at different lifestages and just getting married.So we took that information and did some qualitative focusgroups to really understand where people were falling in.And we found some really interesting thingsthat we could debunk for them.So we could say, you know what, peoplewho happened to be on a prepaid carrier actually

  • 09:15

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: really appreciate it and enjoy their relationship.They're not moving, so that's not an opportunity for you.People who are with their current carrier that happensto be a larger carrier--they're not always in love, so there might bean opportunity there for you.

  • 09:36

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So taking that qualitative, we took those attitudesthat we might not have been able to capture before and put thatinto a quantitative setting, where we were able to segmentpeople on those mindsets.And instead of just segmenting the market,by demographics or male or femaleor what have you or you're at this life stage,

  • 09:57

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: we could put together with the attitudesand say, "OK, there are people out there that reallywant the best of everything.And they're always willing to try something new.This is your primary target who mightbe really interested in this-- an easy target to get.These other folks maybe look good on paper,but might not be, because they need that extra push--

  • 10:20

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: the reassurance that you've been around for a while."So all of that came from the qualitative.We quantified that and were able to come upwith the different segments.And then on top of that, we presented a potential productfor them, figuring out what should the price point beand what should the main features be,because they could be anywhere.

  • 10:40

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And they were starting from scratch.And using that trade-off analysisthat I was talking about earlier,we were able to come up and help prioritizesome of the features for them.So now coming out from three projects possibly,you've now got an understanding of who your target isand what your product should look likeand what you should really tout when you're talkingabout your product, who your target is

  • 11:01

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and how you should talk to them.So it's really great, and it's justa couple of research projects that were put together as--I love this stuff.I love what I do.It's really fun-- so.For market research, it falls into two places.It falls into what I'm working on right now,which is a market research firm or otherwise known as a vendor.

  • 11:22

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And then other people who do market research, which is alsocalled consumer insights--they are in an internal section inside of their company.I'll talk a little bit about both.So I'm at a smaller research firm.There's only probably about six of us, so we do everything.Normally, somebody who's the managing director

  • 11:44

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: is also running the whole entire officeand working on new business.I still do new business, but I'm primarilycharged with doing a lot of the project work.At a larger firm, it's a little bit moresituated where you've got people who are their salespeople.They're out there selling.They know market research.They know how to talk about it.They have the relationships with some of the bigger companies,

  • 12:06

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and they'll bring in the business.And then there'll be a project team that works on it.And it's usually somebody senior who's been around, vetted,who knows the industry--knows market research.And then there's a couple of middle peoplewho are working on market research.There are different levels, but they--I like to say everyone's on the baseball team

  • 12:27

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and everyone's a heavy hitter.Just some of us have been around longer and some of us haven't.And so, pretty much, some of the skill setswould be at that higher level-- they justhaven't been doing it as long.And they might be charged with more of the day-to-day activityand figuring out writing the questionnaire,getting it programmed, checking the program,

  • 12:47

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: doing the analysis, writing the report,and then talking with somebody seniorto consult about where they're at.That might work the chain up.Where it's slightly different at my companyis everybody is doing everything.And you do get very senior thinking at almost every level,

  • 13:08

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: because we're putting our hands on a lot of it.just one of the reasons to work with us,Research Narrative-- just a little plug for ourselves.Just joking.And then from a client perspective,they're usually one or two people.And I've seen it go as big as 10 dependingupon how big the product line is for if you'vegot lots of different-- like, I've seen toy companies have

  • 13:32

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: 10 people in there.And when I was at Activision, it was just me and my boss.And that was it-- so only two peopleworking on a particular franchise.So they are impacting social media, media, creative,marketing, which could be internal marketing, as wellas external marketing, PR, the product itself, and then

  • 13:55

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: investor relations.It's a lot of things that they areworking with and trying to make decisions for internally.So they serve all these different masters,so to speak, internally on the client side.Somebody is trying to think about how they'regoing to present research.I think one of the most critical things to think about

  • 14:16

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: is how people are going to digest it.And you really need to think about your audience.So I had mentioned earlier about peoplebeing curious and problem solving for some skillsthat people should have as a market researcher.One of the other really important skillsto have as a market researcher is

  • 14:36

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: storytelling and being able to help communicatewhat you're trying to say.So knowledge is important, but understanding is better.So if you can help present people the findingsand put people in other people's shoes,or help them understand something besides a number

  • 14:59

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and have that impact in how that's a story,that's really, really critical-- because then those peoplecan then turn around and tell that same story to somebodyelse.And then you're getting action moving upthe chain or out or wherever you need it to do-- whereveryou need to have that impact.So when we are presenting, there is a lot of things

  • 15:21

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: that we keep in mind.One is the audience--who we're talking to.Are we talking to C-suite folks thathave an attention span and only so much time that need it to betold in 10 bullets or less?Are we talking to people who have neverbeen around this project for the first timeand need a little bit more education?

  • 15:42

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So there's so many different thingsthat you can keep in mind, which is the audience for sure.Then the other thing that you thinkabout is, how are they going to remember this information?So if you put up a bunch of charts and a bunch of data,people will remember one to maybe two things on that chart.

  • 16:02

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: They're not going to remember everything else.So you really need to distill it down for them in the headlines,make it simple.I love visual reports.And these can be from anything.It could be from a PowerPoint report.It could be a video.I have brought in people that actuallyrepresent the target themselves and had a panel

  • 16:22

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and had people be able to ask them questions directly.I've had collages put up around.I've put in war rooms, where people can get a senseto come in and look.It's very different.And then, again, being on the client side,we also want to make sure we're being in line with their brand,

  • 16:45

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: so whatever might work for their brand as well.So it really depends upon your audience,the time you have to get that.And how you want to convey that information.There are other times when we're justdoing stuff over the telephone.But, for me, personally, I love it when I'm in person,because you can see the reactions,you can see the confused faces, you can see the crossed arms,

  • 17:08

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: you know, what have you, if peoplearen't believing you or having a hard time digesting it.So you can stop and have those conversations.I think it's always best to have Q&A when you're doing this,and it's not just us presenting.We have a client who keeps calling it a read-out,and she came from a very big company.And that's what they call it.But a read-out really just means we're presenting to you

  • 17:30

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and you just take it, almost kind of like a webinar.And we don't want to do that.We want to be able to have that interaction.One other way of presenting data is a workshop.So I'd mentioned we've brought in panels beforeand had people talk--and who is the consumer and let's get to know them.Back in the day, people didn't know who millennials were,believe it or not.

  • 17:50

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: Now everyone knows, right.So, now it's Gen Z-- who's Gen Z?So we brought in a panel, so theycould talk and understand and get to know and ask questionsspecifically for that.A workshop is where you might present the research.Everyone can go and digest it for a little bit,and then come back and say, OK, now what--

  • 18:12

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: what does that mean for my piece of the business?And we put together exercises in thinking.It's, you know, a couple hours worth of thinking.And we've got table leaders therefacilitating the conversation.And out of there, you could come out of there--OK, I'm marketing focused and now I'mgoing to be able to know that this is the things

  • 18:33

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: that I need to focus on.Or I'm part of customer service--this is how these findings impact me.So now, based on that, I'm going to make a tree for coming downon the website, so people can easily figure outwhere they need to go--things like this.So workshops are a lot of fun too, but those again take time.

  • 18:56

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: But they're very impactful when you can get everybodyand stakeholders there to make the time to hear it.Some of these skills you really needto have as a market researcher-- youhave to have that innate curiosity first and foremost.I think that's probably one of the best thingsthat you could have.So if you're naturally curious and you ask why,

  • 19:17

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: or even why not.I think that's important.And that really helps.I think another great skill to have is being a problem solver,and not being afraid to run to a challenge.So I pride myself personally on being able to solve problemsno matter what they are.And we have had some doozies that have

  • 19:38

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: come our way, one of which--it was a couple of years ago, wherewe were trying to figure out how people are listeningto a certain radio station and where are they goingand where are they going next.Was it through podcasts or radio or was itthrough streaming media?And how can we do that?

  • 19:58

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: And we figured it out.And it was really interesting.And I can't give you the insights,because it's confidential.But it's neat to have those challenges.And a lot of times you just need to stop and pause and think,"OK, how could I, how could I do this, how could this get done?"And you'd end up kind of coming up with it,brainstorming, thinking of ideas.

  • 20:19

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: So being open to other ways--I think being open to not "this is how it's always been done"is also a critical component of being a really good marketresearcher.I think a very key thing to being a good marketresearcher, which happens a little later on in your career,is being a good storyteller.So yes, you've got to get the basics down and understand

  • 20:40

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: how to write a questionnaire and the flow of it.There's logic to it in terms of--just think about it like when you you'regoing to get married.You don't meet somebody the very first secondand ask them to marry you.You get to know them a little bitand then you ask to marry them, right.So same idea with a questionnaire development,whether it's for a discussion guide

  • 21:00

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: or for a survey, where you start broadand you go more narrow-- like, just tell us a little bitand then get it.So once you get those basics down,I think really learning how to story tell is importantand having people remember things.And I think the last thing, I think,is really critical for a market researcher is to be--

  • 21:23

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: I mentioned curiosity, but I think alsobeing really involved in the categoriesthat you're working on.And so whether that's the people you're working withor that the clients you're servicing or the categoryor industry you're in, know it.Know it well, and really like it.And if you don't like it, get out

  • 21:44

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: and try a different industry.Nobody said you had to--you can move around.I think it's great.You know, and be a generalist-- that's fine.Or find a different passion.I think that's great too.I think one of the best things about market researchis it opens you up to so many different categoriesand industries that you might not have been exposed to.

  • 22:07

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: I know a lot.I've helped people make the next SUV.I've helped people figure out howthey're going to retire for retirement and not be afraid.And I've also helped people shop at Walmart.I mean, it's all over the place, and you're not always

  • 22:28

    TRACEY CASTLE [continued]: thinking about all these other things all the time.And being exposed to these different categoriesis really great.[MUSIC PLAYING]


Tracey Castle, Managing Director of Research Narrative, shares her experiences, and discusses the importance of qualitative and quantitative market research.

Looks like you do not have access to this content.

Doing Market Research in a Firm: Research Narrative

Tracey Castle, Managing Director of Research Narrative, shares her experiences, and discusses the importance of qualitative and quantitative market research.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website