As agreed to, I have created a DISCUSSION blog so please share your comments; the ARF needs to hear all ideas and reactions regarding online data quality and the Quality Enhancement Process we unveiled yesterday.
The following is provided as background information for your comments. You might skip parts of this if you were in the meeting yesterday.
Fifty industry leaders, buyers and sellers, colleagues and competitors have worked hard for two years via the ARF to develop answers to online research quality concerns. We were gratified that 200+ researchers came to learn about the ARF action plan. The chosen approach is to create a “Quality Enhancement Process” (QeP) that is intended to have buyers and sellers use three sets of templates in order to work collaboratively and transparently towards a common goal—to once again be able to take data quality for granted so we can focus energies on key marketing issues.
About the word “process”
The ARF is not offering a solution service…we are not becoming a supplier or auditor but we have provided a version 1.0 structure to the conversation that buyers and sellers need to have. A process approach has worked before; starting in the early 90s and continuing today, “Category Management” established collaboration and transparency between manufacturer (seller) and merchant (buyer) towards a shared goal (increase category sales at that retailer). Trade press tell a clear picture of the success of this process and we are borrowing that type of solution for an analogous situation.
About the word “enhancement”
Some will augment the ARF QeP templates with additional considerations. Some will want to work with services that offer addition elements to a solution. That is fine with us. One solution provider has already endorsed the ARF QeP via a press release, and we hope others follow, knowing that we will not endorse a particular provider. QeP is intended to be a minimum…a foundation. Industry leadership via the ARF is saying what needs to be done, not who to work with. As long as suppliers and other solution providers meet the needs of the QeP we welcome their efforts to layer in addition elements of a solution on top of the QeP.
Eight buyers (Bayer, Capital One, Coke, General Mills, General Motors, Kraft, Microsoft, Unilever) intend to pilot test the QeP with their chosen suppliers in a way that is tightly coordinated by the ARF to maximize learning. It is a form of road test to make sure that the templates are consistently understood by different organizations, that it is not organizationally unwieldy, and that the process manages the root causes of data concerns that were uncovered by the $1MM Foundations of Quality research-on-research project.
Why are leaders participating in QeP pilot test?
John Willard from Bayer provided testimony to immediate payoff; he said that this structure will shape his discussions in the next few days about how he transitions a major research program from a traditional offline mode to online.
Tomas Emmers from Unilever said that when marketing teams don’t get the results they want they sometimes question the research; the QeP will take that challenge off the table.
Stan Stanunathan from Coke said data quality by using this process will become table stakes for suppliers.
All buyers on yesterday’s panel agreed that it was important to help shape the future, and be part of things as they move along instead of just seeing what others did.
Suppliers see benefit not only in serving their clients but also in aligning their internal organization (e.g. account and operations teams) around what matters to produce high quality, comparable data…something they care about just as much as the buyers.
As Category Management evolved, so will the ARF Quality Enhancement Process. In fact, we have declared a 30 day vetting process to incorporate what we learn from eight pilot test kickoffs, and from hearing back from the industry (and your comments here are part of that), we fully expecting a “version 1.1” of the templates.
Please share your thoughts!