by Anthony Bell
I’ve been talking to members lately, and the same questions keep coming up; I guess it’s that time of the year again, good ol’ budget proposal season! It’s instinctive to want to peek over the fence into competitors’ lawns. We want to know our budget and staffing sizes match up. We want to know if we are aligned to serve the most impactful parts of the business.
Luckily, MREB members have the chance to compare your budget and resource allocation against peers and understand emerging trends in the Market Research Function. The custom report is just in time of the 2011 budget planning cycle and it’s a valuable tool when explaining budget or staffing proposals to senior executives.
I know by now you’re thinking, “Anthony, I’ve got a small research function, how customized will my report really be?” Depending on the sample size of the specific data set, we can cut the data for company size, geography, budget, industry, function, or business unit.
Here are some of the trends we’ve tracked over the years:
- Flat was the New Up. Research budgets declined from 2008-2010 at rates of a little of 4% each year. As we spoke to members, many have reported their budgets will rebound in 2011, but did they?
- Not just Marketing’s Support Service. While 98% of us support Marketing (not surprisingly), 80% of Research functions support Strategy and Planning, 80% support R&D or Innovation, 76% support Sales, and more than half of us support Corporate Communications! And we expect this cross-functional expansion to continue–this is what we’ve focused this year’s Executive Retreat Series on!
- The Heat Is On. The ratio of how many budget dollars each researcher represents is a pretty good proxy for how much work they are doing. In 2009 and 2010, that number has been higher than what we’ve seen historically ($868,500 and $778,800, respectively). As those numbers continue to rise, the pressure grows for Research to continue to the “more with less” expectation.