All business decisions, whether big or small, warrant some examination of information before coming to a conclusion. For example, when you promote someone, you look at their past performance and future opportunities to determine whether or not they are ready to advance to the next phase of their career. That logic applies to any decision, whether it’s introducing a new product, entering a new market or expanding a line of business. Yet despite us all understanding the fundamental need to weigh the pros and cons before coming to a decision, often times the role of research doesn’t always come to mind.

In my experience in the market research industry, I’ve had countless conversations with people who start off by stating a simple phrase. “You know what, I was wondering…” I smile every time. You see, research can often be put into a bubble – it’s used to understand customer demographics or retain feedback on customer service. And certainly these are very practical, important applications of research. But as technology has evolved, so too has the opportunity for businesses to actually solve the “I was wondering” dilemma and apply the method of data collection to a much broader scope of questions through online, phone and mobile surveys.

Particularly in our purpose-driven marketplace, where consumers and employees value trust and brand engagement, understanding our stakeholders is more important than ever. Consider this: as the workplace dynamics change and your company hires more millennials, have you noticed that their career goals and workplace expectations are different from other employee groups? But have you identified exactly what those differences are and how to address them as an organization? An online employee survey is a wonderful way to glean insights into your workforce in a safe and anonymous environment. This is just one of the many ways to practically incorporate research into your decision making process.

So I encourage you, the next time you or your team encounter the “I was wondering…” dilemma, pick up the phone and give me a call. There are cost effective and practical methods to solve this dilemma and I’d welcome the opportunity to be a sounding board in case “you were wondering…”

-Matt Hayes, President and CEO