Editor’s Note: This analysis is featured in the GreenBook Market Leaders Report. The GreenBook Market Leaders Report is your #1 guide to brand success in the insights industry, featuring the U.S. Top 50, and in-depth analysis from leading CEOs. In its inaugural edition, you’ll learn who is in the lead, who is rising towards the top, and where your company fits into it all.
When did you last hear the phrase “data-driven decision making”? About 20 minutes ago? It has become a fundamental requirement for successful business strategies. For MR companies, this means that the client demands for sophisticated interpretation of the data we gather grows ever larger.
This has driven a surge in new MR technology and solutions to manage and analyze data mountains. Text and predictive analytics, passive data collection channels, and niche MR data applications now allow researchers to evolve beyond their traditional scope. In fact, MR agencies are already moving towards becoming a core business intelligence function for their clients. Those that have the latest tools and techniques at their disposal are poised to become the next generation of strategic business advisers.
What are the technologies underpinning the brave new world for Market Research?
1. Bringing Order to Data Chaos
Market research is no different from any other data-driven business activity, but we already lead the way in terms of understanding that data only becomes valuable if we connect it to other data points for context.
Our entire business model is built upon contextual insight, and technology is core to keeping us ahead of the data curve. Many other ‘strategic’ data-driven business processes still focus on collecting data rather than connecting it. Our experience shows that it’s only by making sense of multiple data sources that we add business value. Data on its own, no matter how sophisticated is still just ‘dumb’ information.
2. Talking to Respondents on Their Terms
Yes, we’re connecting plenty of data, but collecting new insights remains fundamental. But the way we are doing that is changing – or at least it should be. The rise of customer experience has changed the way that consumers expect to be able to provide their feedback. Yes, a good survey with a slick user experience and strong methodology is a fine thing. But we need to look elsewhere too.
A combination of multi-media feedback channels, particularly video, and passive data collection is incredibly powerful. The technology sector has empowered researchers with an unprecedented range of new ways to understand not only people’s behavior, but the drivers of that behavior. My sense is that technology is moving faster than uptake – there is huge opportunity for research firms who really get on board with these capabilities.
3. Delivering Freedom: Automation is Nothing New in MR
From paper scanning to the ground-breaking new AI approaches, research has always been at the forefront of finding ways to automate repetitive tasks. Still, though, technology suppliers continue to drive market change. Here, the change that technology provides is driving a skills revolution. As fewer people are needed to wade through data, so data scientists, storytellers, and strategic business advisers come to the fore to ensure that MR continues to provide value – not just data.
The relationship between MR and technology is sometimes a slightly fraught one, but it is also symbiotic – and it is at the heart of the research market of the 2020s.