What key choices are insights professionals facing in 2023? We spoke with Ray Poynter, founder of NewMR, where we discussed the overarching themes and trends facing the market research industry in the coming year.
In this episode of Now that's Significant, we were joined by Ray Poynter, founder of NewMR. Ray has spent the last 40 years at the intersection of research, innovation, and business, having been involved in the development of CAPI, online systems, online surveys, and social media research. He is currently the Chief Research Officer for Platform One.
We discussed some particular challenges that the industry will need to grapple in 2023, what organizations can do to hold on to their best people, the importance of data quality, and the split of traditional versus new methodologies in the market research world.
Ray shared with us two challenges that the industry is currently facing. One is from outside and one is from inside. The big challenge from outside is the economy, which will be driving so many things, including inflation, possible recessions, and big currency movements. Inside our industry it’s going to be about how we transition to new ways of doing business. Ray shares, “there’s a lot of change coming through, and people need to be sure that they’re on the right side of the change.”
So, what can organizations do to hold on to their best people? Ray suggests starting with the simple things of respecting people and being flexible, so that you don’t lose people and you have a good reputation for hiring people. But he shares that’s not going to help the industry, that will only help the companies. There is a decreasing amount of people coming into the industry, so Ray says that we need to enable our people to be much more productive, via automation, AI, and other new tools, so that people do less clerical work, and more thinking, human-centric work.
When discussing data quality initiatives, Ray says it is “the most important thing for agencies.” He continues by saying, “I think it’s going to be enormous next year. There’s a massive amount of fraud and sub-standard data coming into our industry. For the last few years, the only people who’ve really worried about it are the panel companies. They’re fighting a battle all the time between the people who are trying to get into the surveys to make money. I think that is really going to blow up in 2023.”
Regarding the split of traditional versus new methodologies in the market research world, Ray shares, “the big trend I see is towards simpler research. People want research faster. Most of their questions are technically not that difficult. We’re seeing a lot of DIY technology and ResTech moving through, and that is going to dominate. The sexy stuff is going to be the metaverse, biometrics, eye scanners, Microsoft HoloLens. All of these are going to grab attention, but it’s not going to be where the bulk of the business is. The business will be in the core monitoring, core testing - relatively straightforward things. And we will see AI built into those processes.”
Ray concludes by saying, “organizations either get better, or they get worse. Nobody ever stands still. Agencies might be doing really well in December 2022, but if you're doing exactly the same work to exactly the same standard in December 2023, you’d be losing ground. We need to keep changing and moving.”