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Is The Revolution On Hold?

Editor’s Note: As you’re probably aware, we just wrapped up data collection on the latest phase of the GRIT study and are hard at work on the analysis now. We plan to release the report in early September, although I think we may do a few “sneak peeks” on results between now and then. That is why I thought the latest post from Reg Baker was appropriate; he cites results from the previous phase of GRIT and wonders why we’re not seeing greater uptake on some of these emerging technologies that we all talk about. It’s a good question.

The last wave of GRIT was conducted in November/December of 2010 and although the results were promising, they were not earth shattering. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll tell you this much: based on the new data this story may be changing.  I’m sure Reg will have a view on the results as well, so stay tuned for a few tidbits here and there on what the new data shows, the full report to be published soon, and lots of analysis and commentary from other folks in the industry when we release the results. Until then, here is the incomparable Survey Geek himself…

By Reg Baker


Once a quarter I talk to new employees as part of our company orientation process. I tell them that this is an exciting time to be in MR and a key part of that excitement is the explosion of new methodologies that we have seen over about the last three or four years. I tell them that it’s too soon to sort out the winners from the losers but it’s our job to stay abreast of all them and figure out which of them might work for our clients.

I was reminded of this as I read through the just-released GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report. It pretty much confirmed what I already knew: while these new methods are getting a lot of air time they are not yet attracting significant research spend.  While respondents seem to agree that the eventual winners will be social media analytics, mobile surveys and online communities very few of them are actually using these methods now or planning to do so in the near term. The key paragraph is on page 7 of the exec summary:

Despite the more aggressive adoption of social media, mobile apps, and online communities, less than 10% of buyers or suppliers predict they will use these methods in the near future. The use of serious gaming, biometrics, neuromarketing, crowdsourcing, virtual environments, eye tracking visualization analytics, mobile qualitative, or mobile ethnography are, for now, being used at very low levels.

Granted, this is a convenience sample heavily weighted toward small companies (a little less than half under $1M in revenues and another quarter in the $1M-$5M range) and maybe we shouldn’t over interpret the findings. But it’s consistent with what I hear from people who make it their business to track this sort of thing.

None of which is to say that we should push innovation down in the priority stack. But when you look at how quickly online panels took off and compare the growth in spend there to what we are seeing with social media analytics, mobile and MROCs you have to wonder whether any of these new methods will take off any time soon. I’m not sure that’s a healthy sign for our industry.

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