“If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research” (Wilson Mizner). Embarking upon critical strategic planning? Rebranding? Entering a new category? ‘You can’t know what you don’t know’, as the saying goes. Whether you’re a consultant, an entrepreneur, an agency or the client, primary research is costly and assumes a good understanding of the market from the outset. Astute secondary research can be the most cost-effective way to get smart when you need it most. And it needn’t take very long. After all, by definition, we’re looking for information already ‘out there’ (…if only you knew where, could decide what to believe and had the luxury of the time to explore and look for inspiration).
Of course, anyone can Google. But few people combine PhD research skills with years of marketing research, branding and advertising agency experience. Precious qualities are brought to the table, including critical appraisal, an eagle eye for potential insights, tenacity, catalogues of proven information sources, an unbiased perspective, and the ability to paint a rich yet coherent picture with what most would consider total information overload. From hard facts to connecting-the-dots or neat creative insights, high-quality secondary research offers a higher plane of strategic decision-support.