Top 4 Things Overheard at CRC


Last week’s Corporate Researchers’ Conference in Orlando shared notable stories of successes and failures, both of which impart meaningful lessons in thinking about how we build on or change how we work in this business. What really stood out for me were the anecdotes about how we can do better as an industry. Thanks to everyone who informed and inspired.

Here’s are just four of those anecdotes I overheard:


1.”It’s hard to tell a great story. It’s hard to find something that is new and insightful. But, it makes all the difference.”

At every industry conference, we hear about the latest data-collection and analysis technologies. It seems every researcher has a way to deliver data faster and cheaper than their competitors. But, with so much focus on automation and dehumanization of research, authentic and insightful storytelling gets lost. On a panel hosted by Dave Harris of Insight and Measurement, a common complaint emerged: not all insights professionals are, well, insightful. Too often research reports, despite being full of showy graphs and charts, fail to connect the data points, let alone tell a coherent story with a moral.


2.“If you can’t get the basics right, you have no chance of winning new business.”

Client horror stories in receiving sloppy, not-well-thought-out proposals were abundant: from suppliers placing a competitor’s logo on a proposal to misspelling the client’s brand names, to delivering vague three-sentence email proposals.

This is one industry challenge that Collaborata aims to tackle head-on. Our RFP Wizard yields uniform, concise proposals from suppliers, while ensuring that thoroughness and thoughtfulness. And maybe, best of all, all proposals coming through Collaborata (from all vendors!) are automatically consistently structured and formatted, making quick comparisons fast and easy, allowing clients to focus on the thinking behind the proposal. So, no longer are clients trying to match up an art-directed PowerPoint with a Word doc and a free-form email proposal. Our Wizard saves you time, allowing you to easily discern who has the thinking, experience, expertise, pricing, and timing you need.


3.”Everyone is a full-service, cutting-edge marketing research firm… Be creative. Look at your messaging.”

If you’ve ever hopped among supplier websites, you’ll notice a lot of the same. Suppliers, who are advising you when it comes to your branding and your offerings, struggle when it comes to differentiating their own, because well, their skills and capabilities are often quite similar. But, with so much competition, suppliers must stand out.

Suppliers need to have a point of view. They need to differentiate meaningfully in what they offer. And, their messaging must be distinctive in order to rise above the clutter.


4.”I don’t want to meet your CEO. I want to meet your junior analyst who plays ‘Fortnight.’”

Admittedly, this quote came from someone in the gaming space. But, the point is that clients don’t want to waste their time talking to a CEO who likely won’t work on their project. Instead, they’d like to meet the team who would!


With a solid week of conferences behind us, there’s a lot of refection going on in our industry. We’re always excited to innovate, collaborate, and try out new things.

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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: 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.


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