Editor’s Note: It has been my experience that research companies don’t collaborate often; the other companies out there are your competitors whom you are trying to beat. The idea is to gain a competitive advantage. So, when I read about a case where research companies actually do collaborate on an initiative to benefit the industry, my ears perk up. Here Courtney Williams describes just such a case, and it is an important one.
In 2018, for the first time, the industry’s biggest players came together to explore the impact that poor mobile design and lack of mobile optimization have on opinion research, a conversation all of us have been having individually for over 10 years. The Market Research Society (MRS), in collaboration with Dynata, Kantar Profiles, Lucid, and Toluna, collected two years of international panel data to find patterns between mobile and non-mobile measurements. During that effort, we committed to reconvening with a new year of data in 2019, and last week, we presented on our updated analysis after adding the third year of data.
Collaboration is the Key to Success
The findings were significant. Working together, we identified clear patterns with regard to respondent behaviors, demographics, and survey completion rates in mobile and non-mobile optimized scenarios. However, what resonated most with me went beyond our research findings. What struck me was just how important collaboration is to the success of our industry.
The first year really set the stage for this cross-organizational partnership. By the second year, our group had really come together as a team. In fact, we all enjoyed the exercise of layering on the new year of data to our original work and seeing the benefit that all our collective input brought to the table. I believe a huge contributor to the momentum of our project was the involvement of a fully objective facilitator. The MRS became a trusted partner that each of us, as competitors, could submit our data to for compilation and anonymization.
The result? We could be a team that focused on our collective business challenge.
Success Turns to Forward Movement
Collaboration, to this degree, is extremely important – because success is like a wave. The more force that goes behind it, the more it impacts everything in its path. And, ultimately, it’s good for all of us. This idea holds true for the marketing research industry, too. If one of us creates a new product or optimizes a research method, that provides a new opportunity for the rest of the MR community. Success creates healthy competition, innovation, and consistent forward movement.
The most profound change happens when influential companies facilitate a strong idea and others follow suit – and, ideally, improve upon it. However, to put it plainly, the marketing research industry tends to be slow to evolve. But it’s time to let go of the notion that one company’s achievement is entirely separate from another’s. Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Uniting for Change
Imagine if we worked together on projects beyond this one to truly affect productive change in marketing research. What if we all took a closer look at how we understand the attributes of people signed up to participate in research. Or, if we really solved how to provide a representative sample within convenience sampling constraints. Dare I say data security? All of us can readily agree that solving these issues is vital to the advancement of online research, yet we stumble when attempting to agree on a collective path to take to mitigate known issues.
It’s time to recognize that the value in industry partnerships goes far beyond pure optics – it’s vital to our continued growth. I truly believe collaboration can move mountains. Let’s talk.