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GRIT Sneak Peek: The Top 5 Emerging Methods In Market Research

We’re nearing completion of last wave of the GRIT study and will be publishing the full report in January. Here is a "sneak peek" at one of the perennial favorite topics, the adoption of newer approaches into the researcher toolkit.

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We’re nearing completion of the analysis and initial writing of the last wave of the GRIT study and will be publishing the full report in January. In keeping with our SOP of the last few years though, we’re doing a few “sneak peeks” on some subjects we covered. One of the perennial favorite topics is the adoption of newer approaches into the researcher toolkit, and since it’s the Holiday season we thought we’d embrace the spirit of giving and go ahead and release at least a little bit of what we found.

Before we dig in, a few notes for reference:

Sample: This was by far the largest sample in the history of GRIT (N=2,229 plus another 200+ from a slightly different version of the questionnaire fielded in LatAm earlier this year). That is fantastic news in terms of representativity of the MR industry, global reach, and analytical robustness but it posed some challenges for comparisons to previous waves which were much smaller in N size and did not have as much of a global composition. In order to make wave to wave analysis feasible we went back to the previous 2 waves of studies and weighted the data to reflect the new sample composition. So, the data for this wave stands on it’s own, and the trending will be accurate as well, numbers from previous waves may not reflect what was previously reported due to the applied weights.

Geographic distribution: This wave had a much broader geographic reach due to the collaboration with several new partners, most notably Research & Results in Germany. We also conducted a slightly different version of GRIT in Chile and Argentina earlier this year in collaboration with The World Federation of Advertisers, AIM and CEIM. We have decided not to include the data from that version here due to some variances in the question structures, although there is still a very sizable LatAm segment within the “core” GRIT sample.

Here is a breakdown of respondents by sample source. Respondents are recruited through a mix of direct email invitations and open URLs promoted on various industry portals, platforms, and social channels. IP duplicate detection is enabled in order to limit duplicate respondents, as well as a battery of other fraud detection techniques during field and analysis.

GRIT response

Now, on to the  reason you clicked on this link: what emerging methods are growing and approaching mainstream penetration? The Top 5 are:

  1. Online Communities
  2. Mobile Surveys
  3. Social Media Analytics
  4. Text Analytics
  5. Big Data Analytics

These 5 are all over 30% in use by GRIT respondents, with correspondingly high numbers of MR professionals that are actively considering using these methods now.

This list has remained relatively unchanged over the past several waves, with incremental growth only over the past 18 months. The exception is a new entrant onto the selection list offered to respondents: Big Data Analytics (which replaced data mining in this new wave). Much has been written about the hype around Big Data, and arguably some may question what constitutes true “Big Data” in an MR context, but if we give the benefit of the doubt to MR professionals (and we do) and assume they do understand what the term means then hype or not, over 2/3 of GRIT respondents are pursuing this approach and are roughly equal in where they are within the adoption curve.

As to the other Top 5, as we maintained in the last report earlier in 2013, Online Communities, Mobile Surveys, Social Media Analytics and Text Analytics have reached “mainstream” adoption, with majorities of respondents reporting active consideration or use.

What about the rest of the most commonly discussed emerging methods? Here is a chart that shows how each measured up:

GRIT Top Methods

Of the rest, it’s interesting to note that another new entrant on the list, micro-surveys, performed strongly in the “under consideration” bucket, no doubt driven by the entrance of Google Consumer Surveys into the market and the host of other, similar approaches that have followed. Also Mobile Ethnography  and Mobile Qual very strongly follow Mobile Surveys, indicating that more and more researchers are embracing the mobile channel as an option, which is heartening indeed based on broader technological and social trends related to the massive growth of mobile globally. Whether this change is driven by necessity or vision remains to be seen and is actually irrelevant: the bottom line is that large numbers of researchers are making this shift in response to market forces.

Research Gamification continues to be a category that researchers are considering in much larger numbers than they are actually adopting it, which is likely a reflection on the absence of easily scalable design and delivery systems as much as anything else. If a software provider can launch a platform for developing “research games” with the same ease as even the most complex surveys, we suspect the adoption number would start to grow.

The entire “unconscious measurement” bucket of facial scanning, biometrics and neuromarketing continue to be at the bottom of the list, with only marginal adoption or consideration. Facial scanning is particularly surprising considering the amount of activity outside of MR related to that technology with companies such as Apple, Google, Intel and Dell (among just a few) ushering in consumer-centric facial scanning technology. It’s also the most scalable of these solutions, so perhaps GRIT respondents are biding their time until the technology is further developed, although a note of caution is in order if that is the case; as an industry we don’t want to have to play catch-up and end up competing against much larger organizations that are ahead of the curve.

On Friday, 12/06/2013 I will be discussing these results (along with a few more related findings I’m not going to post here right now) with Ray Poynter of Vision Critical, Simon Chadwick of Cambiar Consulting and Reineke Reitsma of Forrester in a  special “What’s  Hot in 2014” final session of the Festival of NewMR. There is still time to register here: and I hope you’ll join us for what will surely be a lively debate with a few of my gurus in the industry.

In that webinar and in the upcoming GRIT report (due to be published next month) we’ll be taking a deeper dive into this topic by exploring the differences in responses between client and supplier as well as by global region. We’ll also discuss some of the barriers to adoption GRIT respondents listed when it comes to all of these approaches. There is much more to share that we think you’ll find interesting and impactful!

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13 responses to “GRIT Sneak Peek: The Top 5 Emerging Methods In Market Research

  1. All these methods are data gathering.

    Where are the analysis and interpretation methods. This aspect of MR value seems absent. A serios concern in mu view given that much of the MR disruption is coming from operators outside the classical market research paradigm?

    We need innovation in analysis and mindset as well as data sources.

  2. As a long time researcher I feel that there is a need for a user-friendly forecasting tool, in addition there is a need for tools that help tell the story from your data. If we simply are data gatherers we might as well pack our bags. Look at all the free tools for survey research out there. If our industry does not act fast we will be dinosaurs.

  3. Hi Dan

    Data gathering is not a tool, I agree and I an am intrigued by your thoughts

    Forecasting Tool : What would it forecast?
    Storytelling from data Tool : what would it do and how woukdbit support.

    The sifting and synthesis side of research and insight process is much neglected. Only tools I can think of that might be contenders are for dealing with qualitative and visual thinking interpretations.

    The Brain
    Mindmapping software
    Story writing software
    Southbeach modeller (new one I am experimenting with?
    There are also some post note and idea board services

    Anyone else hot any relevant non data collection tools?

  4. I agree that the data gathering tools should be seamlessly integrated with other tools in the future, for example visualization) or storify (storytelling). In fact the end-result is even not the insight, it’s getting the insight into the head of your stakeholders, with the objective to convert them into action – these certainly contribute to that

  5. @Pierre says “In fact the end-result is even not the insight, it’s getting the insight into the head of your stakeholders, with the objective to convert them into action..”

    I agree. So where are the behavioural studies that show how to achieve this?

    What research methods could be applied to this “insight audience” in level of detail that we currently devote and obsess about when “customers” are concerned.

    What theories of executive decision making work best?

  6. First–interesting data!

    Per the comments, I agree with many of the points made. And the semantics are interesting.

    What is a research method vs a tool category? I understand Lenny needs to keep things simple for survey design. But for me, in looking at these fascinating results, I do kinda see two categories: “methods” and “tools”. And in some cases, perhaps “techniques”. If I had to define it…

    Method is a way of doing research. A tool is the specific type of software/platform for doing discrete tasks. A technique is a set of steps/processes that may be used to implement methods. OK< maybe that was overkill!

    1. I love that view Kathryn, and of course you are right: we are trying to make an already complex and overly long instrument simpler for the sake of expediency. I certainly see though that maybe some more granularity on this question is in order and we’ll look at it in the next wave. Thanks as always for contributing!

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