“Collaborate with your competitors?”


Why, in your right mind, would you consider collaborating with the very organizations with whom you’re competing? The answer: because doing so can help you win. Let me explain.


We all know that research funding is tight in these days of zero-based budgeting. Corporate researchers and suppliers alike are asked to do more with less. As a result, too many important research projects don’t make the budget. And, often, it’s those special projects — whose results lead to the type of transformative insights that can help grow your brand and business — that don’t get funded.

This is the problem we at Collaborata been working to solve for the past year, with help from researchers at Coca-Cola, Wrigley, Kraft, Gap, the NBA, Kellogg’s, Sony, JWT, BBDO, and other client companies, agencies, and suppliers.

The solution: collaboration! If we share costs and insights (even with competitors), more projects will get funded; more transformative insights will be gained. It’s really that simple. This idea has led to the development of a new platform that enables co-funding and collaboration, which in turn will greatly reduce data-collection costs. As reported last week in several leading marketing-research trade publications, including an article in Market Research World, Collaborata has launched, and clients and suppliers are signing on.

If you’re like many clients, your initial reaction might be: “But, wait, too much of what we research is proprietary. We’d never share a project with a competitor.

Our quick response: You’re already doing this if you subscribe to syndicated research. You’re buying research at a significantly reduced price, made possible by sharing its costs (oftentimes with your closest competitors).

So, it’s well past time to think differently about research buying and selling. It’s time to collaborate. After all, we’re now living in an age of omnipresent data.

As Bob Meyers, the former Global CEO of Millward Brown and Chairman of TNS puts it: “It’s no longer about data being proprietary. It’s about how your business analyzes the data and how those insights are applied to your brand. Collaborata makes the pricing of data-collection far more cost-efficient, allowing you to allocate your dollars to better analysis, where the marketing wars will be won or lost.”

We’ve all heard about the “sharing economy.” Collaborata is its expression in our industry.

As Debra Senra, Euromonitor’s North American Client Development Director, frames it: “Calling Collaborata ‘syndicated research’ is like calling Uber a ‘taxi service.’ For anyone who posts or executes a project on the site, Collaborata is custom. For those buying research, it’s syndicated. Collaborata is unique.”

Anybody who’s been following the market research industry knows that it’s keenly focused on innovation  — at least when it comes to how data are collected, analyzed, and presented. And yet, there’s a fundamental disconnect: When it comes to the very basics of how we transact the business of market research, little has changed. We still go through the same old arduous RFP and proposal process: Approved vendor lists, MSAs, few new vendor relationships, renewing the same syndicated studies year after year. This is old-school transacting that often leads to high prices but fewer truly fresh insights.

Instead, let’s imagine an open marketplace for market research that promotes an exchange of ideas while fueling competition and inspiring invention. A platform that provides real choice, which drives down costs and amps up creativity. What would be the end result of this realization? The funding of more research — research that will lead to transformative insights to help grow businesses and brands. Hello Collaborata.

Please browse Collaborata.com. Look for research to co-fund and get inspired to post your own project!

Happy collaborating,

Peter Zollo


Peter is the co-founder of Collaborata. He was the founder and CEO of TRU, the firm that contemporized youth insights. Collaborata has just been announced as a finalist in the IIeX Insight Innovation competition.

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Jimmy Zollo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Collaborata -- a Chicago-based tech startup serving the insights and marketing research world. Collaborata is the first-ever platform that enables organizations to share research costs and insights. Collaborata was a finalist for the 2017 Midwest Digital Startup of the Year, the 2016 Insight Innovation Award and has been featured on Business Insider, BuiltInChicago, Greenbook, Quirks, Research Live, MRWeb, and Market Research World. For more information, please visit: http://www.collaborata.com Jimmy developed his passion and enthusiasm for the Chicago tech community, while driving growth at GrubHub for four years. He helped develop GrubHub's industry-leading restaurant network, traveling across the country to launch new markets and grow existing ones. Following GrubHub's IPO and merger with Seamless, Jimmy transitioned to the corporate team, leading partnerships between GrubHub and many of Chicago's leading law, consulting, tech, and marketing firms.