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Research Agencies - Management Consultancies?

 
#1 Research Agencies - Management Consultancies?
29/06/2005 21:24

AM

Accountants were very close to senior decision makers and so had a way in to start selling management consulting services on top of audit. IT firms were already in large companies with their systems and started selling management consulting services on top of that. Market Research and Business Intelligence companies also are well established within corporate environments and many decision makers already trust their reports, analysis and advice to make decisions. Does anyone think the research companies of today will be the management consultancies of tomorrow? As the market of standard benchmarking research matures, where will the agencies look for new revenues?

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#2 Re: Research Agencies - Management Consultancies?
06/07/2005 20:55

Terry

It's a good question. But, the answer is - NO. Why? several reasons. 1: market research and intellignece tends to be sold to middle / junior managers. They act as gate keepers. The brand names are not strong enough to get any higher up the chain, to the real decision makers (unlike our accountancy friends). 2. The sales model - about one-third of research company staff are sales, and sales only, with a large number of acocunts to manage. Most research staff stay back at the office. As a result, the relationship is poor. Compare this to the consultancy model.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but, to do it, requires a number of paradoxes to be resolved. Think of generic strategy - to get the information on which to base your credibility, as you rightly say, you need to sell to an increasingly commoditised market, and therefore focus on low cost. To be a management consultant, it's all about customer intimacy. If you have in faith in Messr. Porter, you cannot do both. So, if those mkt research firms head towards consultancy, they will end up leaving behgind the low cost/mkt knowledge. Their competitive edge goes. And they become stuck in the middle.

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#3 Re: Research Agencies - Management Consultancies?
07/07/2005 16:27

AM

Dear Terry, Thank you for your answer. I’ve just bought “Competitive Strategy” so to fully appreciate Mr Porter too!

I agree with some of your comments, but within the research and intelligence market there is a value chain too. When you talk about lowering costs you probably refer to standard published reports or on-line info aggregators /data providers and when you say there is no strong brand name you probably don’t refer to companies like Gartner or Forrester (to take the technology market as an example). I believe some organisations, (including Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Ovum and Datamonitor) also have what they call a consulting division, to carry out such things like strategy sourcing, market and competition assessments, technology reviews … (much cheaper than McKinsey, but often worth more than what a mid-manager can authorise). I agree when you say there are lots of sales people “only” in research companies, but I am pretty sure that when it comes to bespoke services, and not research products, the sales guy might qualify a lead and might start the sales cycle up to a point, until a senior member of the consulting practice takes over, senior member who will be in charge of the relationship with the client and to get follow up projects, senior member who often talks in conferences and writes in the press, senior member who might become friend with the very top of the client organisation. Companies like Atos haven’t stopped doing systems integration, but they also started a management consulting group. Most research companies will not stop publishing reports, but I don’t see why some of them couldn’t move up the value chain a little more, and start eating a small slice of the management consulting pie too. Any ambitious research consultancies out there?

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