News Analysis: Research Brings Its Rewards

Article excerpt

The shortlist for the Marketing Research Awards 2004 will honour best practice from across the marketing world

After a successful first year, the Marketing Research Awards return this year to champion the importance of the discipline in the marketing mix.

Backed by The Marketing Society and The Association for Qualitative Research, the awards celebrate best practice across a number of categories devised in consultation with leading industry figures.

The 2004 Marketing Research Awards will take place at The Dorchester hotel in central London on Monday 5 July and will provide the opportunity to recognise the achievements of the leading practitioners of market research as well as network with some of marketing's major players.

The number of categories has been expanded to 16 this year, up from 11 in 2003. This increase will ensure that all industry sectors and research strategies are given recognition, rewarding the best methodology in each category based on a number of key criteria.

Healthy competition

The event's top award, the Marketing Award for Outstanding Research, will again be a closely fought contest, with a number of leading candidates in the frame. Last year's award was won by warehouse equipment provider Lex Harvey and its partnering agency MORI Market Dynamics.

In battling to establish a market position that would differentiate Lex Harvey from the increasingly commoditised mainstream, MORI Market Dynamics set out to obtain information that could drive a change of strategic direction and identify the type of customers it needed to be targeting.

With a budget of pounds 150,000, the research identified two key customer segments where Lex Harvey could establish sustainable competitive advantage. The project team then built the research into its forward strategy, using it to symbolise a professional, customer-driven approach.

This award-winning piece of work highlighted the importance of marketing research to a company's strategy and, once implemented, provided the brand definition that Lex Harvey had been seeking.

Other headline winners from the 2003 Marketing Research Awards included Nationwide Building Society and ORC International, which took home the prize in the financial sector, and Specsavers and its partnering agency NFO WorldGroup, which won the retail award. NFO WorldGroup scooped a second prize in the government and public sector, with client The Scottish Executive.

All of last year's winners demonstrated positive results for the brands concerned as a direct result of the market research undertaken, both in regard to the companies' present health and their future strategic direction.

The nominees for this year's awards have had a similarly successful impact on their respective brands, with competition for the awards proving tough in all 16 categories.

The judging panel for the Marketing Research Awards 2004 comprises: Martin Hamblin chief executive Dereck Martin; Marketing Society chief executive Hugh Burkitt; Travel & Tourism Research managing director Peter Hodgson; COI Communications senior research manager Rachel Carter; TNS group director Simon Burrows; Research International global marketing director Lucy Davison; Firefish partner Alison Fydler; Red Bull customer research manager Jonathan Hill; NOP World chief executive, Europe, Phyllis Macfarlane; TNS executive director Nigel Spackman; Levi Strauss European market research director Flemming Thygesen; Financial Times senior manager of customer insight Catrina Ure; IPSOS UK international development director Kevin Ford; Procter & Gamble head of market research Catja Maggio; London Business School assistant professor of marketing Mark Ritson; and Synovate director Alan Walters. …

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