As researchers properly hyper-sensitive to trends and innovation, you may have noticed that as of 2015 everything conceivable can either be achieved or at least ordered online, usually with free shipping. I know this is true because I read it on Wikipedia.

Way back in 2012, our Board directed me to fully modernize MRA’s online presence and capabilities by establishing a series of online platforms that would facilitate many of MRA’s member benefits electronically, integrate our committees and chapters with those systems, and be responsive so that that presence worked natively on mobile devices. 

“A piece of cake,” I replied. “Let’s do it.” 

Two plus years later, MRA’s new website is “live” today, in first draft, with still more to come. As with all websites, we’re undergoing usability and technical testing that will result in rolling improvements, so if you see something that’s out of kilter or missing, please note it to us and we’ll get it on the list for a fix. Also note that even though we’re “live,” we’re not done with features. Additional functionality is in the pipeline. 

Perhaps most important to note is that you have a public profile on our new site that you can create and tailor to put your best foot forward. It’s there so that you can introduce yourself to other members by profiling your skills and abilities. It also can serve as a background for buyers of research to become more comfortable with you by exploring your research-specific background. 

Your member profile differs from LinkedIn in that it is intended to be research-specific. That summer you flipped burgers at McDonalds (something I also did long ago) would not be included, as it’s not really meaningful to a research profile. I know that I, at least, wasn’t thinking about research at the time. 

We have opened the site to member-authors beyond just member profiles. Our chapters and committees have been asked to provide web content editors to manage, with our help and training, their own corners of our site. One cool byproduct of this miniature crowd-sourcing concept is that the chapters will be able to piggyback on our system to automate event marketing, registration and ecommerce. And it’s ready today. Our committees will also be able to publish their latest accomplishments and agenda.

 Blog postings are also expanding. Blog postings of the chapters or committees which are posted on their home pages automatically appear on MRA’s new home page, and will also be publicized to the full membership in MRA Update every Tuesday. 

Got something to say? Say it on MRA’s site! 

PRC has been rebuilt from scratch to work better on the new site. An enormous amount of effort has gone into revamping PRC. Like our new member profiles, PRC profiles have been created in a different, more elevated style to allow those who have achieved PRC to publicize their achievement. A new system was also built to enable the management of PRC credits to be easier and faster. And there’s more to come on PRC. 

Our webinars will be expanding and have been completely updated using Adobe Connect, a state-of-the-art webinar delivery and archiving system.

That’s just a start. Visit our new hangout on the web soon and send us feedback. It’s being built for you, so your opinion counts!

Making the Case 

Recently a member wrote describing a prospect they were looking to pitch. They reported that the prospect was very successful, at the top of their game and a market leader looking to expand into three new markets, but was not sold on MR given their successful track record.

“Why do MR if we’re already geniuses?” they asked. 

I thought about it and wrote five bullets on why I feel that smart research is instrumental to successful executives/marketers. Here’s what I said: 

Confirm Decisions/Initiatives – Objective data can support a good decision or modify or reverse a bad one, in all instances supporting an organization’s efficiency, effectiveness and – ultimately – success. Gut can be good, but it would be better if it’s confirmed by evidence. 

Uncover Surprises – There are always surprises when studying markets. Although experience and intuition can be invaluable in market decisions, no person or team is omniscient in all markets. The right research, well-executed, can uncover the unexpected, which you can use to your advantage. 

Track/Predict Market Trends – Markets are dynamic. The market you know today will be different tomorrow. Markets change daily in size, location, attitudes, awareness and other characteristics, all of which can be benchmarked to predict future trends. This is a baseline requirement of nearly every sophisticated organization. 

Your Secret Sauce – Your competitors may well be gathering competitive intelligence on you and insights into your target audiences. Research can be part of your organization’s competitive advantage to extend a class-leading run.

Do Smart Research – All research is not created equally. Some research is clairvoyant; some lesser modes or methodologies can result in misdirection. As with most situations in life, you need to choose the right tool for the job. Don’t scrimp on skill and expertise. Remember: garbage in… 

I have no doubt that there are other reasons, but these were well received. They’re also fun, so I thought I’d share them with you. Send me yours!