Being a Better Researcher: Client-Side & Supplier-Side

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kim Dedeker presenting

Take-Aways from Kim Dedeker's Talk at Cincy American Marketing Association Market Research Special Interest Group

Kim Dedeker, Kantar's Chair of the America's, presented on September 26th for a mixed crowd of suppliers and client-side researchers.  Her topic, "What Suppliers Can Learn from Clients & Vice Versa," came from the heart, and was based on her personal experience of being client-side at P&G for the majority of her career, but then switching over to supplier-side.

Quick to acknowledge issues on both sides of the table, Dedeker called for industry reinvention.

Things client-side researchers say about supplier-side researchers:

  • They’re like used car salesmen, don’t care about my business needs and don’t care to understand my business issues.
  • Suppliers are out of touch, don’t have the willingness to innovate, they're complacent.

Things supplier-side researchers say about client-side researchers:

  • They have champagne taste with 7Up budget.
  • Expectations keep going up.
  • Procurement is squeezing margins, treating me as a commodity, but I'm not a commodity.
  • They expect us to put the horsepower behind innovation but they want to own the IP.

Some of Dedeker's take-aways to help us get out of the deadlock:
  • Work together to innovate and reinvent together.
  • Seek to understand the project financial risk, assessing whether new methods or DIY-style methods are appropriate, "Is this a product optimization or is this a full product capital expenditure?"  These scenarios should have radically different method implications.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture business decision at play, not just feeding the next gate in a process.  Knowledge and insights are the deliverables...not the report for one gate.
  • Make the research relevant to the organization...partner together to make that happen.
  • Supply side should equip client-side to have a conversation with procurement that helps procurement understand the value equation/ROI of insights.  Procurement is used to comparing apples to apples commodities and must be coached and encouraged on what they don't know, and is our job to explain.
  • Ensure that supply-side sales folks are able to have the "what do you need?" conversation, not just pitching what's in the portfolio.


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