A world without market research? We write for ESOMAR's Research World

We write for ESOMAR's Research World blog about how market research can contribute to U.N. Sustainable Development Goals by giving a voice to underserved populations & providing insights that will champion sustainable initiatives

What would the world be like without market research? We talked about this on our podcast with Maria Tyrrell, the managing director of NeedScope International, and Murray Campbell, Director at Baseline Consultancy, who helped us answer this question. Based on that discussion, and his own deep own experience in the market research industry, our Director, Geoff Lowe, recently wrote an article on the subject for ESOMAR's Research World blog

In the article, Geoff focuses on how market research impacts the world in a positive way based on the framework of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. This was the focus of International Market Research Day held earlier this year, which recognizes the impact our field has had on shaping a sustainable world for tomorrow. Taking inspiration from this theme, and the great work that market research companies are doing around the world, he addresses three of the 12 U.N. Goals. 

UN Goal #10: Reduce inequality within and among countries  

Geoff writes about the potential for research to promote equality by giving a greater portion of the population a voice. While things like mining data from online conversations and social media can give us some of the data needed to do this, it falls short in some ways. Solid consumer insights from primary research can help to frame and contextualize this data in a more meaningful way. This concept applies to both commercial consumer research and political polling. He writes that market research can "reduce injustice when done right - providing insights on which leaders can take positive action." 

UN Goal #12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

One of the reasons that some companies and brands are seeking more sustainable practices is due to consumer pressure. Market research has driven this awareness, as many primary studies are finding that consumers are prioritizing and purchasing products that have sustainable measures in place, such as eco-friendly packaging. Smart brands are taking hold of these types of insights, and taking action to meet consumer expectations. He writes that it was in part, "the louder and louder voice of consumers, gleaned through market research, that eventually has caused many brands to employ more sustainable practices along the supply chain. Good research can help companies pivot and be more proactive and future-focused on issues like this."

UN Goal #16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Proving these concepts are necessary is part of the job of good market research. With the social, economic and philosophical differences that can often exist between leadership and their constituents, communication and understanding can sometimes be lost along the way. Organizations and institutions can, and should, advocate for people, but first they need that higher level of knowledge about their audience's wants and needs. "It is market research that can give that voice – we are involved in growing humanity’s understanding of itself so everyone can be better served."

Geoff concludes the article with: "By just examining these three points, it is clear to see that without market research, we could potentially have a more wasteful, less equal world. By giving diverse populations a voice, we can influence outcomes for a more sustainable future." 

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