n Acta Commercii - The use of storytelling in quantitative research reports : a marketing research firm perspective : original research

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2413-1903
  • E-ISSN: 1684-1999



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.

This article investigates the use of storytelling as a tool for actionable reporting by South African marketing research firms.
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.
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.
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.
Storytelling should be used by marketing research firms to provide clients with more actionable research.
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.

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