Doctor, Doctor

By 2018-10-01 Blog No Comments
picture of man and woman in space laboratory

Autumn’s here, the leaves are turning brown, the nights are pulling in and on Sunday 7th October the new series of Dr Who was launched.  Yeay!

For the first time there is a female Doctor – and about time too. At Changeworks we’re quite excited about that, even though we don’t handle PR for the programme.  As it’s is about time travel, let’s imagine a time in the future when the Daleks want to do business with us, rather than exterminate us. 

Interplanetary key account?

They’re alien to us; we don’t understand the way they think and feel (do Daleks feel??)  We don’t understand the way they behave.  Let’s think of them in B2B terms; they have the potential to be an interplanetary key account.

We’d need some background information to their organisation – size, type of activity, unique characteristics, objectives and aspirations; we’d need in-depth understanding of their product and/or  service requirements ; we’d need understanding of their decision making processes… we’d need some ethnographic studies and participatory observation , some in-depth interviews and some scenario planning workshops – it’s so fortunate that Daleks speak English!

OK, time to stop, before the joke gets worn out – none of Changeworks’ current clients or prospects market to aliens- or do they?   Thinking of target audience segments (or stakeholders) as aliens isn’t altogether a bad idea though; the first rule in marketing is this:  you are never your target audience.

Getting inside someone else’s head is hard

You were a student once – but that doesn’t mean you understand the young adults that got their “A” level results a few weeks ago; it’s all changed since your day – even if you only graduated recently.

You may be familiar with the term “kidult” – it means an adult that prefers items that society deems are for a younger person; an adult who plays with toys or games; an adult who wears clothing that a teenager or would wear.   So, what proportion of spending on toys in the UK last year was accounted for by Kidults?    The answer, which appears later, will surprise you, it surprised us.

Staying with the  sci- fi Fantasy theme, The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the highest grossing film series in unadjusted US Dollar figures, surpassing the Star Wars, James Bond and Tolkien’s Middle earth series: (Star Wars is the highest only when adjusted for inflation).  Where do their creative ideas come from?   The answer- or at least part of the answer – is qualitative research:  Marvel brought together groups of children, showed them pictures of its superheroes, and described their abilities and weapons. Then they asked which ones they would most like to play with as a toy.    Then… they invested further in Iron Man.

Why qual research works

At Changeworks, we’ve never undertaken research into superheroes, exactly, but we have commissioned qualitative research with procurement directors and industry thought leaders… and workshop manager and many others. We’ve done it to obtain insights for the trade press and to help clients understand their changing business environment (all business environments are changing – but not in the same way).

Science fiction is one way of looking into the future – marketing research is another – and in the short to medium term it’s the more reliable.

To answer the question from above, £1 in every £9 spent on toys in the UK is adults buying toys for themselves, a fact that emerged in a secondary research assignment undertaken over the summer by our research and strategy partner.   You may have guessed more or less accurately – or you may have been miles out – and in this context it really doesn’t matter very much.  But in your own business, can you afford to guess? If not, Changeworks and its partner, AR Consulting can help you find, interpret and leverage evidence through professional research.