How Does Your Organization Use Research Information?

Toward the end of my tenure at Nordstrom, we had a meeting about multichannel marketing with Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research. This bright individual knew the challenges facing a multichannel retailer, demonstrating superior subject matter expertise.

These days, it seems trendy to use external subject matter experts to help leadership understand important business issues. I've attended many a presentation where the Director or Vice President gives research information more "presentation time" than actual customer behavior and company metrics. In other words, the presenter may feel that the research company has more credibility with executives than internal database marketers have.

How does your organization use research information? Do you use it to complement internal database marketing metrics and marketing research information? Do you use outside research information as the primary source of credible information? If the latter is the case, why does research information trump internal understanding of customer behavior, an understanding based on actual customer purchase activity?