Research and insights funding is especially tight in these days of zero-based budgeting. Corporate researchers and suppliers alike are asked to do more with less. As a result, many important research projects just don’t make the budget. And, often, it’s those special projects -- whose results lead to the type of transformative insights that can grow your brand and business -- that don’t get funded.
This is the problem a new Chicago-based tech startup, Collaborata, has been working on for the past year. This is the problem they’ve been collaboratively working on a solution for with researchers from Coca-Cola, Wrigley, Kraft, Gap, the NBA, Kellogg’s, Sony, JWT, and other client companies, along with agencies and suppliers.
Their solution: collaboration!
This idea has led to the development of a new platform that enables co-funding and collaboration of research and insights project, which in turn, the company maintains, will greatly reduce data-collection costs. As co-founder Peter Zollo says, “Collaborata enables clients to share costs and insights, so that more projects get funded and more transformative insights be gained. It’s really that simple.”
If you’re like many clients, your initial reaction might be: “But, wait, too much of what we research is proprietary. We’d never share a project with a competitor.”
Zollo, who’s the founder of former CEO of TRU, an insights consultancy acquired by Kantar in 2007, counters: “Most clients are already doing this through subscribing to syndicated research. They’re buying research at a significantly reduced price, made possible by sharing its costs, oftentimes with their closest competitors.”
He adds: “So, it’s well past time to think differently about research buying and selling. It’s time to collaborate. After all, we’re now living in an age of omnipresent data.”
As Bob Meyers, the former Global CEO of Millward Brown and Chairman of TNS, put it: “It’s no longer about data being proprietary. It’s about how your business analyzes the data and how those insights are applied to your brand. Collaborata makes the pricing of data-collection far more cost-efficient, allowing you to re-allocate your dollars to analysis, where the marketing wars will be won or lost."
Zollo points out, “We’ve all heard about the sharing economy. Collaborata is its expression in our industry.”
As Debra Senra, Euromonitor’s North American Client Development Director, frames it: “Calling Collaborata ‘syndicated research’ is like calling Uber a ‘taxi service.’ For anyone who posts or executes a project on the site, Collaborata is custom. For those buying research, it’s syndicated. Collaborata is unique.”
Anybody who follows the market-research industry knows that it’s keenly focused on innovation -- at least when it comes to methods, tools, technologies, and analytics. And yet, there's a fundamental disconnect: When it comes to the basics of how the business of market research is transacted, little has changed. Clients and suppliers still go through the same arduous RFP and proposal process: Approved vendor lists, MSAs, few new vendor relationships, renewing the same syndicated studies year after year. Collaborata maintains that this is old-school transacting that often leads to high prices but fewer truly fresh insights.
Instead, says Zollo: “Imagine an open marketplace for market research that promotes an exchange of ideas while fueling competition and inspiring invention. A platform that provides real choice, which drives down costs and amps up creativity.” He maintains that end result of this realization is something the entire MR community will value: The funding of more research -- research that will lead to transformative insights to help grow businesses and brands.