Last fall, representatives from the market research teams of each of Canada’s Big Five banks had their first of what promises to be many meetings. The idea for this group arose during a lunch with a researcher from another bank. Like many industries, there is a tight network of researchers across financial institutions, so I leveraged my personal network to gauge interest in this idea and set up the inaugural meeting. We first met in a restaurant so we could get to know one another in a casual environment, and subsequent gatherings were hosted by different banks. The group’s initial thinking was that we would get together quarterly, but during last month’s meeting we realized more frequent discussions were needed.

Discussions are free-flowing, and so far topics have included:

  • team structure/alignment to analytics groups
  • common challenges such as procurement
  • syndicated studies
  • suppliers
  • industry developments
  • best practices like project intake forms

When thinking about how to best structure one’s team, it is very helpful to understand the size of competitor’s teams, reporting structure (i.e., do they report to CMOs or someone else), how they are working with their firm’s analytics team, and how they have been able to optimally position their teams.

Discussions around syndicated studies and suppliers have been particularly robust. There is easy consensus around emerging relevant topics that need to be added to marketplace studies. We all benefit from improved data from such research. Indeed, our next meeting is with the supplier who leads a mainstay study in our industry. 

That said, group members do not need to wait for a meeting to connect. Now that links have been established, anyone can reach out to another bank researcher as needed.

It is encouraging how candid the conversations have been without anyone revealing sensitive information. Ultimately, this group is positioned to elevate our collective game, and early indications are that we are achieving this goal.

If you are considering starting a similar group in your industry, I would strongly advise you to do so. Feel free to reach out to me (susan.innes@bmo.com) or the MRIA’s Client Side Research Council if you have any questions about how to get started.