The ‘So What’ factor and how to avoid it

So What Research

The ‘So What’ factor and how to avoid it

Getting people to engage in research in big organisations can be hard….

“Well that’s pretty obvious”

“I don’t understand it”

“I can’t read all the charts”


“I’m too busy”

“I don’t care”

….Are some of the typical things you might hear on a regular basis. If this is the case, then chances are you’re a victim of the ‘So What’ factor

Some of the (easily fixed) common causes of this are:

  • Senior management not invested – if the CEO and management team doesn’t buy into it then it’s going to be very hard to get the rest of the organisation to care. If you are in a position of influence in your organisation, are you doing all you can to back and support research? These things really are a top down approach – customer metrics should be a core part of the organisation’s KPIs.


  • Agencies reporting back information overload rather than insights and direction – if you have an agency who can’t see the wood for the trees, then its always going to be a chore sitting through hours and hours of irrelevant content. Does your agency work hard to make sure research reporting is interesting and informative rather than dull and stating the obvious?


  • The “I’d like 2 focus groups please” trap. Shake up your research! There’s nothing wrong with a well-managed focus group, but often there’s a better way to get the answer out of consumers than the traditional methods. Have you fallen into this trap? Keeping an open mind to new and innovative research techniques can reap rewards in terms of the depth of insights you’ll get.


  • Key metrics not built into everyone’s goals – the sum of the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. If every single person in the organisation feels like they are working towards the same goal, much better success will come of it. In addition, you’ll get much better buy in to research results. Make sure that all departments – from HR to frontline staff – are on the same page, the same metrics, and ultimately the same end goal.


  • Tracker’s gone stale “Blah blah blah blah” – the same old irrelevant stuff being reported every month? Are people bored of hearing tracker updates, or hearing nothing new? Chances are your tracker needs a content and reporting refresh. Simple changes can make a big impact on audience engagement.


  • Lack of understanding – NPS? Customer Effort? Customer Satisfaction? What does it all mean? Quite often people simply don’t understand what they mean or how they are calculated, but are very unlikely to put up their hand in the middle of a meeting and ask. Often it’s just a case of educating and reminding internal audiences what these things actually mean.


“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

The ‘So What’ factor is a common problem, but the good news is that it’s easy to fix once you identify what’s causing it and work with your research partner to address it. It takes time and determination to create an organisation built and driven by customer insight, but the impact it will make to your bottom line is worth the effort.


by Lynsey Carolan, Research Director

Market Research Solutions

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