In one of their recent e-newsletters, software product design shop Viget immediately got my attention with this intro:

Research has an image problem. A word-association game for the word research might yield results like “methodical” and “academic” – not exactly words that resonate with digital product owners and CMOs. However, research is really about asking the right questions at the right time.

Spot on! Research no longer requires a heavy, foreboding, complex, months-long process conducted by “researchers” (aka academics not marketers). Most research should be defined by whatever is necessary to serve the business purpose or outcome. I highly recommend reading the associated article titled, “9 Tips for Doing Fast, Lightweight Research at an Agency.” It’s geared towards agency folks but has practical advice for all marketers, product teams and general management.

Here’s a tip I love:

Don’t Wait Until You Have a Research Plan

Start recruiting research participants before you know exactly what you’re going to do with them. Waiting until you have a perfect plan is a great way to lose your momentum or talk yourself out of doing research altogether. I’ve been guilty of this more than once.

Coming from the perspective of academic research, I’ve had to unlearn the tendency to be ultra-prepared. Flexibility and improvisation are anathema to academic research, but essential to design research.

Read the rest here: “9 Tips for Doing Fast, Lightweight Research at an Agency.”  As far as reducing the time required to schedule client conversations, Viget has apparently built a tool called powwow, mentioned in their article. While I haven’t used it, I have saved hundreds of hours by using TimeTrade or Calendly.

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