Exclusive Features

The Importance of Research

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

I’m just going to put this out there so you know where I stand before you read this whole story.

I’m not a huge fan of taking part in research that comes to my e-mail inbox.

I do a few of them that I feel are important. If I have some form of a relationship with an organization, I’ll take the time to answer all of the questions. Otherwise, I can’t hit the delete button fast enough when I receive the random, unannounced, never-before-asked-for research projects. Sorry marketing folks, but it’s the truth.

But here’s my problem. I publish a magazine, and I have a website, and I use both of the, to provide robust, essential, daily and monthly information. And more often than not, when I hear from you, I hear you saying you want research. It might be about e-commerce, the direction the industry is headed, economic forecasts, how the channel is innovating or consolidation planning. It’s essential information that I know you want and need to make serious decisions about how you will operate for long stretches of time.

How do I gather that information for you? I send out the very same type of e-mails that I don’t want to answer myself. I know, it’s an interesting situation to operate in. I recently completed a study where tED magazine sent out 500 e-mails to distributors and manufacturers asking where and how you believe electrical products are sold: what percent is through the traditional supply chain, what percent is direct to customer, what percent is through MRO/OEM, etc. I only received 22 responses. I don’t feel like that sample size is large enough to share the information I received, despite the fact that I really want to share information like that with you.

So, what should I do?

Here’s my best solution, and I already know it’s not perfect. If you have other suggestions, I would love to hear them. Anything I send to you for research, either through my personal e-mail, Baird Research or anything with a tED magazine logo will not be shared with a third party. You don’t have to worry about a flood of e-mail related to our research that will ask you to buy a product. Anything tED magazine sends you will only be used as a way to inform you of the important trends that are happening and to help you shape your strategies. Also, your responses will always remain anonymous, so your answers will not be shared with anyone.

And I should add this: even if you do not respond to research, tED magazine will never make you answer research questions before you can access tED magazine or any of our websites.  Never.

I believe you need this information, and I am willing to hire research companies or do the research myself. I only ask that you take the time to help tED magazine and NAED create the industry-wide information that you ask us to provide.

As always, if you have questions, suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you. My e-mail address is scosta@naed.org.


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