Welcome back. Now imagine a scenario where a potential client comes to you with a business problem or opportunity, or an information need where market research is required. But you're caught off guard or, as I like to say, they catch you cold. Ever been in that situation before? I know I have. It occurs when you don't know anything about them or their business or situation. When you're starting from the beginning, you have to do secondary research to find out more about their business. You also have to collect whatever internal research they can provide because sometimes they have valuable data, but don't recognize its relevance. After this lesson you'll be able to apply secondary and internal research when starting cold. Let's get started. About 15 years ago, a company approached me and they said that their specialty is producing personalized bicycle tires. That was before Internet personalization became popular. You could actually choose your design. They would print it on your bicycle tire, so when you ride it, it would display your message. They produce these high quality, customized, fashionable tires. The auto industry was considering something familiar and this person came out of the auto industry. I had a lot to learn about it so I went on the Internet and gathered as much information as I could on a secondary basis to learn about the bicycle tire market. Then, I asked for other questions. Meanwhile, I had asked him for what internal research he did have. He had some product concept tests early on in terms of building his business. He gave me all that research that showed that people were interested in it, but it was a very finite segment of the marketplace. He also gave me reports on the bicycle tire market so I didn't have to go to marketresearch.com or any other source like that and buy the bicycle tire market data. This shows that it's a process and a relationship, and we had to develop that relationship for me to be able to ask for these things as part of the orientation. It also involved understanding the marketplace. I had to do some, and he had to do some. It took internal and secondary research when starting so cold to arrive at a viable plan. Internal research is often overlooked and very valuable to the research objective. This is especially important to the outside researcher working with a client organization. The client organization may not necessarily pass along what could be important information. Internal research could identify problems, processes, or strengths that may not otherwise have been apparent. There could also be past research or reports that the company has. Some of these reports could include customer profile information, geographic information, inquirer or prospect data, marketing information or how much they've spent. You might even come across other consultant reports. You need to see potential marketing budgets or other data to see whether or not they're spending enough to reach their customers, or you need to see complaint reports so you can actually see if this is a real problem. They can be saying stop the bleeding in terms of losing our customers, but then you'd go into the complaint report. You'd be anxious to see if they've got to work with their people a little better or they've got a product flaw some place that's causing a lot of these problems of customer satisfaction or whatsoever. The churn reports are basically complaints, why customers leave. All of these things could help direct the research to help take it from what is causing our problem to how are we going to fix the problem. You could actually make better research because you'll be surprised that your clients or potential clients may have valuable data, but you may be able to put this data together and realize something that they cannot see. They just want to know the answer. They have some of the breadcrumbs that will help lead us to the answer, but your job is to see where these breadcrumbs can lead us. Part of the service that you provide is to look at their internal research with a fresh eye. They may be too close to the problem that they can't see it. As you speak it back to them, you can illuminate what needs to be done next to lead to the answers they seek or solutions to their business problem. A client could come to you cold and you've gotta think things through, starting cold. However, then you've gotta take a path to say, okay, this is how we solve the problem. If they give you a few breadcrumbs and that trail may point you down to a few different directions. If you have five different directions in front of you, the breadcrumbs may reduce that down to one or two. Sometimes they may even suggest a new direction for your research. These breadcrumbs are a lot of internal research, or some data that you can collect through the secondary research process, that would tell you that this is a good company and they are losing market share because of something. And now, we know a little bit more about them. It might help shape the direction of the research, or it might actually help focus it. I've had examples of where clients say okay, we've gotta stop the bleeding, or we've got to understand the entire market. And then you start looking at some of the internal research, and you realize you really don't need to look at the entire market. You need to focus their attention somewhere else that they had not anticipated, because of assumptions that they took for granted. Let me give you an example. I won't divulge the name of the company because this could apply to any business. It shows how a skilled market researcher can appraise internal and secondary research to reveal false assumptions. It exemplifies the way market research can redirect business decisions based on scientific facts, rather than emotional reactions, to solve the business problem. This example demonstrates that what business leaders think is causing the problem may not be the real issue. Back in 2001, a cruise line company was about to launch a new cruise liner when the terror attacks of 9/11 happened. The cruise industry immediately lost 40% of its traffic overnight in terms of bookings. They came to me to help them respond. I gathered secondary research and internal research they gave me. I studied it. I took keen interest in their customer demographics. I saw the lifetime history of all their customers and noticed that they were losing a significant percentage of their bookings from older customers passing on. So I recommended that rather than focusing their efforts on increasing bookings from their entire database of customers, to focusing market efforts on younger customers. They had assumed that the downturn had to be from the recent tragedy. However, I discovered that the average age of the customer was in their mid-70s. Think about that for a moment. That's an average, which means that a good portion of their customers is in their late 70s or older, which essentially was the average life expectancy of people in the US. In addition to this tragedy, on a long-term basis their biggest competitor was not the cruise lines, but it was death in and of itself. Their customer base was dying. This insight helped reshape the research, not to be about tragedy management, but transform the research question to be how do we build a new market of cruise participants or cruise vacationers among younger people? In the end they shifted their focus from the 55 to 80 year old market to shifting to the 25 to 34 year old market. It redefined the research for us. That shows the value of combining secondary and internal research, but also the value of the market research professional analyzing the research without assumption or bias.