Original Research

The use of storytelling in quantitative research reports: A marketing research firm perspective

Vanessa Maritz, Daniel J. Petzer, Christine De Meyer
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 2 | a248 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i2.248 | © 2014 Vanessa Maritz, Daniel J. Petzer, Christine De Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 2013 | Published: 18 July 2014

About the author(s)

Vanessa Maritz, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Daniel J. Petzer, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Christine De Meyer, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Actionable reporting ensures that a marketing research firm communicates with clients to achieve business impact as opposed to merely communicating data to clients. Storytelling communicates with impact as it focuses on creating engagement and inspiring action.

Research purpose: This article investigates the use of storytelling as a tool for actionable reporting by South African marketing research firms

Motivation for the study: Clients of marketing research firms often criticise research reports as being too technical and lacking in strategic value. Storytelling is a reporting technique that can be used to develop actionable research and provide clients with more strategic value.

Research design, approach and method: A total of 26 in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with client service directors and managers of marketing research firms that deliver quantitative research reports to clients.

Main findings: Results indicated that all marketing research firms but one use storytelling. Barriers that impede more regular use are inexperienced research executives and the time intensity associated with creating stories.

Practical/managerial implications: Storytelling should be used by marketing research firms to provide clients with more actionable research.

Contribution/value-add: The study provides marketing research firms in South Africa with recommendations as to how to implement storytelling as a reporting technique, which will add value to clients and enable marketing research firms to remain competitive and develop relationships with clients.

 


Keywords

Marketing research, storytelling, actionable reporting, quantitative research reporting

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