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Fortune favors the bold market researchers

The solutions and technology already exist to bring market research into the “future”. Being bold means questioning the value of our old ways of doing things by drilling down and finding the underlying need.

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What is in store for the future of market research? From new technologies to new methodologies, there’s always something seemingly ground-breaking right around the corner for the market research industry. But, what if we bring it around and talk about what we can do right now instead? Solutions are already available to help us deliver more value when it comes to research and insights. There’s no need to wait.

Adjacent industries are already doing amazing things with new technologies like artificial intelligence. Big data and analytics are using neural networks, with algorithms that recognize relationships and patterns among large amounts of data, to provide insights and predictively forecast outcomes.

In fact, we see more and more large companies storing their marketing-relevant data in data lakes or oceans and trying to glean insights from these cloud-based systems. IT departments are giving marketers access to this stored data and applying AI technology to try to answer exactly the same questions that primary research is seeking to answer. But, because the tools and techniques used in this environment are not built for market research data specifically, consumer insights data runs the risk of becoming marginalized. This means the marketer may not be getting the whole picture. 

Consumer insights and market research survey data are critical pieces of data that drive strategic decisions at companies. It is up to us as insights professionals to make sure that this data remains on the front lines for businesses - and we can do it if we use the right tools to harmonize, analyze, report and share data. However, for many, it might feel safer to stick with large bundles of crosstabs or 100-slide PowerPoint decks. These large, cumbersome, static monstrosities are often a security blanket that researchers haul around with them like Linus in the Peanuts comic strip.

Being bold means questioning the value of our old ways of doing things by drilling down and finding the underlying need. What purpose are these giant slide decks serving? Is there a better way – a “future-proof” way – of delivering insights? What lessons can we learn and what inspiration can we get from other areas so we don’t get left behind?

The solutions and technology already exist to bring market research into the “future” that we’ve been talking about in so many different ways in the industry. It’s just a matter of having these tough conversations with ourselves, clients, company stakeholders and others in order to take the leap to new ways of doing things – using solutions that unabashedly look to the future of research.

The truth is that researchers have a lot of value to add to all the streams of data that companies are using to understand their customers, businesses and marketplaces. A natural curiosity, plus the skills to truly get to the heart of what the data is telling us, are talents that we should not undervalue. Selecting the right tools and technology to help us prove our value will help us build the true data-driven future that is essential for ongoing success.

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