Keri Vermaak talks about some of the overarching issues driving the heightened need for quick insights, along with a different way to approach sharing data.
“It’s astounding how fast things are speeding up – both for ourselves as humans and for market research agencies.” Keri Vermaak, our Regional Engagement Director, talked about some of the overarching issues driving the heightened need for quick insights, along with a different way to approach sharing data, in the recent #NewMR webinar, “Empowering clients to create faster insights.”
With many years in the industry, including 20 years with Infotools, Keri has seen the market research landscape change dramatically. What used to take a long time – survey to data processing to analysis to reporting – is now shortened to extremity. Brands are experiencing an entirely new business environment, driven by fierce competition and even new technology. As market researchers well know, while technology facilitates solutions on many fronts, it can also come with its challenges.
As clients grapple with changes wrought by current events, Keri maintains that market research agencies need to move into the role of facilitator. Acting as gatekeepers for data comes from what she calls a “mindset of scarcity” – worrying over what could go wrong and what errors could occur if clients are given access. Instead, she says we should shift to a “mindset of abundance” to maximize the power of the insights the data is holding by sharing data and extending the power to more stakeholders.
This is a scary proposition for many. There is general mistrust that clients will not know how to use the data, which can be reasonably complex. A deeper reason for this fear may also be the disinclination to relinquish power - by monopolizing the data, they can maintain their revenue streams. This fear needs to be left behind in today’s reality.
We are at a precipice: democratizing data is within our reach, and we need to be willing to take this step and help our clients do the same. With the right solution (think Harmoni!) acting as a gateway to provide data access, parameters can be set to lower the risk of compromised outcomes. Our job is now to make that data as accessible and easy to use as possible.
Change is already happening, and it is going to continue to accelerate. Keri says that the benefits outweigh the risks of taking the client on the insights empowerment journey. More changes are on the horizon, including automation of data processing and report production. Market researchers need to find other ways to add value to the client relationship, and empowering them with insights access is a giant step in the right direction.
Of course, every client is different. Some like being “served” up their insights in a ready-to-digest format. Clients have to be willing to do the investigation and embrace the value of the discovery process. There is tremendous value when they engage with the data, couple it with their own experience and knowledge, and bring that to the decision-making process.
The bottom line is that clients must have the option to access their data without barriers. Consumers are purchasing products and services differently, they feel differently, and things are moving quickly. Everyone in the consumer insights process needs to be able to keep up, together.