What’s next for the market research industry?

Global events have pushed the market research industry forward faster than ever. We're going to see an increased demand for bringing multiple data types together, and achieving goals using a blend of talent and technology.

The market research industry has been “supercharged” by global events, as the need increases for better, faster consumer insights. Market researchers have been talking for years about things like heightened data quality, faster turnaround times, the ability for deeper analysis, data integration and cost effectiveness. If anything, the pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of the industry in delivering on these priorities. And many have been left scrambling to keep up. 

A blend of talent and technology

While the implementation of smart technology is a clear winner in achieving better outcomes, it isn’t quite that simple. Adopting new solutions and platforms in an industry steeped in traditional ways of doing things has been an uphill battle for many forward thinkers. That’s because the technology, on its own, can’t accomplish the lofty goals that new pressures on the industry have set for us. We must have a blend of “talents” to get there. 

Two years ago, we wrote about “techquilibrium” - achieving quality, speed and cost savings in the consumer insights space by uncovering the strengths of humans and machines. Since then, as predicted, we’ve seen a continuous focus on business outcomes driven by the integration of people, data and technology. Meeting today’s demands on the market research industry, and creating more value, means balancing technology adoption with human expertise. 

Many hesitate at adopting new technology because of traditional disruptions to workflow, but renewed focus on user experience and better customer support are making some solutions easier than ever to learn and integrate into daily tasks. And those that are able to embrace these tools are better able to deliver on industry demands, like speed, efficiency and accuracy. 

A blend of data for better answers

Data and technology is quickly becoming a true “commodity” in most business settings. As we look to the future, this movement means we will finally see a true integration and meshing of different data sources, resulting in hyper-rich, contextualized data that is curated and translated by curious insights seekers.

This kind of integration is critical in gaining holistic audience understanding. For example, businesses often want to use their marketing-related data to help map customer journeys, understand motivations, and proactively develop products, services, and communications that will lead to organizational success. This means bringing all the data together, including manufacturing, sales, media, social media, market research/survey, customer feedback, transaction data and everything in between.

Integrating these data sources and points is a critical part in building understanding about why consumers or customers are doing what they are doing, and informing ways to optimize their journey. This means, again, optimizing the technology used - and the experts to understand it - in order to use data for business advantage.

The global pandemic is still not over, and it continues to shape the way we do business. The importance of market research has been highlighted over the past several months and, as long as consumers continue to change their behavior and their sentiments, we will continue to face increased pressures to deliver faster, better, more cost-effective insights. We must consider both technology and people, plus all the data streams that businesses use to make decisions, in order to stay a step ahead. 

More musings about the New Year from some of the market research industry’s leading minds can be found in Greenbook’s annual “Market Research Predictions” article series. Horst Feldhaeuser, our Group Services Director, weighs in here as well, summarizing the themes covered above with: “We said two years ago that we will see a continuous focus on business outcomes driven by the increased integration of humans, data, and technology. Little did we know that a global pandemic supercharged the need for better and faster business support. With data and technology being a “commodity”, we will finally see a true integration and meshing of different data sources, resulting in hyper-rich, contextualized data that is curated and translated by curious insights seekers.” 

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