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P&G Research Head Mourns MR’s Lost Listening Skills

January 28 2009
Researchers need to develop listening and idea generating skills, according to Procter & Gamble’s senior researcher Kim Dedeker, who was speaking at yesterday’s Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) workshop ‘Transform Your Research By Listening’.

Dedeker believes that market researchers need to employ softer skills, such as finding and telling persuasive stories or making greater use of ethnography and online communities.

‘What we've lost, because of our focus on evaluating product concepts, is the opportunity to listen more on the front end and co-create with consumers,’ said Dedeker, who is P&G's VP External Capability Leadership - Global Consumer & Market Knowledge.

Dedeker complained that P&G currently spends about 80% of its market research budget on evaluating ideas prior to launch rather than listening to consumers at the beginning or end of a product launch to help generate ideas or improve products.

‘We're too focused on initiative qualification scores, on the check box that comes with the survey and feeding the metrics monster within our companies,’ she stated, adding that marketers need to find ways to engage consumers more, using tools such as social media to win back consumer trust.

The event was the latest in the series of ARF Industry Leader Forums, initiated by Chief Research Officer Joel Rubinson. Other speakers included Barack Obama’s pollster Joel Benenson, Michael Perman from Levi Strauss, Stephen King from Microsoft, and Pete Blackshaw from Nielsen Online.

Web site: www.thearf.org .