Dec 20, 2013

6 things that are wrong with most Market Research presentations

Market research presentations are usually long. Your agency has interviewed 200 consumers and have asked 50 questions to the consumer. They have spent 2 weeks collecting the data and another 2 weeks in analyzing it. At the end of it all, the final output is in the form of a PowerPoint. Usually running into 100+ slides.

How do you present such information and ensure the client understands it and can take action on it? A pretty difficult job.

I have sat through many such hour or two-hour long presentations and have found few things which are common. Here are the 6 things which are wrong:

1. Information overload
2. Lack of a story (across the presentation)
3. Data inaccuracy / mismatch
4. Inadequate preparation to face audience questions
5. Highly complicated
6. Solid Actionable Summary

Let me devote a paragraph to each of these.

1) Information overload is pretty obvious. You have 100 slides which also have more than 50 charts/tables. To digest so much in 2 hours is never easy for the audience.

2) Lack of a story is a much bigger problem. The researcher should arrange the slides in a manner which reveals the story one by one. Like how we peel an onion. Most of the times, the slides are not connected to each other. The audience keeps jumping from one concept to another without a bridge to connect. This makes it even more difficult to understand the whole presentation.

3) Data inaccuracy and mismatch are not uncommon. You have presented some data on Slide 5 and you present a similar thing on Slide 10. If you put them together, there should be no contradiction. The analyst has to ensure no errors are made. After the presentation is made, the presenter has to give it to someone else in the agency to do a 'quality check on data'. Even check the rounding off errors.

4) The presenter needs to look at each slide and ask her, what will my audience want to know. What will they ask if I present this? This is also lacking in many presentations. Possibly because the slides were put together at the last minute.

5) Highly complicated charts and tables are presented. Since you have been doing this for ages does not mean you will continue to do this. I have even seen presenters who present 4 charts on one slide and then say DO NOT LOOK at the last chart. Why present when you don't want the audience to look at it. There is actually a reason as well. You want the audience to know you did that analysis :-)

6) A good summary, on which your client can take action, is a must for any research. What problem is the company facing and what are your recommendations based on research. Most presentations put the job in the audiences' hands. I feel that is not right. Since you have analyzed and conducted the research, you need to provide a small summary of major findings at the start or the end.

Do you agree with this list? Have I missed something? Would love to hear your views.
Moreover, how will a presenter overcome these 6 hurdles? What do you feel...