If you’re a researcher of any sort, personal or business, then you realize how much time, effort, energy and work is involved.
As qualitative researchers, the data we gather on women and beer is not only singularly unique, it’s highly valuable for entities that want to examine how women make decisions. Knowing how a person makes all the why, how, and when questions is incredibly useful insight that can be immediately and effectively applied.
So when someone comes knocking on our (usually email) door and asks for either free information or with the “offer” to be included in their publications, I say no. Mintel and Stanford are two of those entities.
1. The folks inquiring for the free information are not offering a return to us (payment) for the product we supply (information). There’s seemingly no consideration to the fact that real multi-year work has gone into the seeking out, gathering, compiling and preparation of this information. Do they get their groceries for free saying they’ll tell everyone where they shop? Doubt it.
2. These people are making a salary. Therefore what they are saying is that they expect us to give our work for free, even though they are being paid. They want our work for free though they get paid. This makes no sense, is arrogant and self serving with no consideration to the supplier.
3. In these cases they’d also use the information we can supply to further increase their revenue, give them more selling points to their clients, and reap increased benefits, while we see no return. They want to use our work to make themselves more money. I’m all for entities making money – they simply need to budget for all costs of services and goods, research included.
4. No it’s not good enough, in fact it’s insulting, to assume that the exchange of saying we were included in their work is acceptable. It’s not nearly what we want and thoughtless to not even ask about compensation. It totally disrespects our work and makes them look like cheapskates, which they are being in this case.
5. Free “work” doesn’t pay the bills. Exposure gives you frostbite or sunburn.
It’s truly astounding to me that people in these companies first of all ask with no expectation of paying for the products. And secondly, they try it explain or hide behind labels that, in this case, really make them look cheap and unprofessional.
For Mintel, the old untrue saw of “we don’t have any money for this” comes out. Baloney, I’ll state nicely. That’s absolutely untrue. Stanford, the same thing. You’re successful profitable institutions and you already pay for staff of all kinds, supplies, space, utilities and the like. Yes, you can afford to pay for this product just as you buy your student or work body computers and air conditioning.
We all have money for what we want to buy. If you’re in any sort of business – education, for profit, non-profit, whatever – you’re in business. You’re there to serve and make money to put back into your efforts. I see no difference in the pure purpose of operating. And don’t argue with me on this one. Too many entities try to use their structure as a crutch. That simply insults them more, frankly.
When you want a product of high quality that is singular in its content that can help you serve your purpose, expect to pay for it.
Respect those you ask for information by talking about the investment that accompanies the transaction. Information is a product just as widgets, beer, and computers are. People ignore that we all need to make a living to contribute. And when we all respect that value proposition, then we can all give back more.