By Richard Evensen
It’s 2013 and, sadly, too little has changed in market research over the past two decades. There are still companies delivering static research reports in Word. We’re still showing the same boring Excel bar graphs and pie charts. And, many of us are still holding stubbornly to old tools while screaming for answers to meet new challenges.
But there are some companies who are re:thinking how the research business needs to evolve. These are disruptors who are using the power of the internet, connected devices and human smarts to, well, rewrite how research can be done! So, who do I think is innovative enough to be a beacon for the industry and should get a nod as a re:Think13 Innovator?
- Affectiva. Facial recognition beats more costly and cumbersome neuroscience approaches and the ability to do this on mobile devices opens up access to many hard-to-reach markets. Expand applications from ad and concept testing to, well, surveys and you gain a much deeper understanding of self-reported data.
- Google. Whether you consider this the evil empire or a good information provider, it’s time to realize that Google is in the research field to stay … and to expand … and to totally change the rules and price points which we’ve become accustomed to. Need 10,000 survey completes in a day for only $1,000? Call Google. They may not be slick but these guys are serious game changers.
- Convertro. I haven’t vetted this out fully but, if it works as stated, these guys have figured out how to glue disparate (individual) data together to get a more holistic view of consumer activity and influencers across devices and along the purchase lifecycle and identify what really drives sales. Holy cash cow! It’s big data meets smart analytics and it’s caught the eye of Nielsen.
- Millward Brown. It’s a mouthful but MB’s Meaningfully Different Brand Equity model has some ‘there there’. It connects customer views with business outcomes and allows clients to test drive various business decisions to see the impact on brand equity. And, it outputs some cool benchmarks which execs will love. Vet it before you get it but it looks like a more concrete approach to identify key attributes influencing brand equity and, more importantly, purchase.
- Gayle Fuigutt. Wait. It’s her first day on the job and she’s already an innovator? Yup. Vision and motivation are half the battle in innovation and – based on her speech as well as conversations with ARF employees and members – Gayle has provided both. She has a huge task ahead of her though, trying to get digital dinosaurs to become disruptors but there’s a clear appetite for change and Gayle seems up to the task to make it happen.
So, there you have it. Some innovators which stand out after Day 1 of the ARF Re:think conference. There are lots of other companies in attendance though. Who gets your innovation vote?