I've just been reading the editorial in Research World, the monthly magazine published by ESOMAR - the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research. What caught my eye was the title which I have used in the headline of this blog – "the importance of being framers".
Simon Chadwick, the editor of the Journal was making the point that market surveys are all well and good, but what matters is how you frame the data. In his view, researchers and analysts are good at crunching numbers but they sometimes don't ask the uncomfortable questions that answer the real business problem. This is where frameworks come in.
Frameworks are the start and the end of real business issues. They put data into a context. Nearly always they drive action. Not surprisingly, consultants love frameworks and Simon Chadwick was imploring researchers to move further in that direction.
Frameworks are tools. Faced with a business problem there is almost certainly a framework that can help. There are frameworks for long-term strategies. There are frameworks for new product development, for customer satisfaction and loyalty, for pricing, for beating the competition, for improving marketing communications. There are frameworks for improving quality, for segmenting markets, for finding growth opportunities. There are frameworks for every business problem.
This takes me back to a time when I was a junior researcher, sitting in a workshop led by an experienced hand. I remember him introducing us to SWOT analysis. It was so powerful I was blown over. He told us that there are dozens of frameworks like this that we should become familiar with them. At the time I didn't believe him. But he was right; there are dozens of frameworks. On this website there are around 100 - all of them marketing related. They became my friends and helped me analyse data and give direction to the intelligence I collected. It often surprised me how impressed my clients were to see their data dropped into a framework.
It doesn't take much to use a framework and it will make a big difference.