Market Research PREDICTIONS for 2010 in EIGHT Words

We asked some voices from the industry to pick one word that they believe will sum up market research in 2010. Here’s what they came up with.
Phyllis Macfarlane
Chairman, GfK NOP

Transformational

“2010 should prove to be the year when we transform our businesses to be fit for the new decade”
“For some years now the market research industry has been struggling with change: the new digital world presents new measurement requirements, the client requirement for consultancy and ‘value-add’ is ever increasing and we are expected to integrate multiple data sources as a matter of course. The financial crisis has simply intensified the requirement for change. 2010 should prove to be a transformational year for market research – the year when we transform our businesses to be fit for the new decade. The technology exists, client demand exists, we only need to innovate, invent the new metrics and adopt the new technologies. Recession is the mother of invention, as they say.”

Stan Sthanunathan
VP, marketing strategy and insights, Coca-Cola

Rewind

“Agencies will rewind some developmental work and ask fundamental questions about what tools are going to be needed”
“Clients have already been rewinding their spend, and they will assess the impact of cuts they made in 2009 to see if it actually affected the quality of insight delivered. If you used to do comprehensive monthly tracking in a small country, why not just do that every six months? Then look at the business performance to see if you need to go back to monthly tracking, even if the economy improve. Meanwhile agencies are going to stop and think about what it means to do research in this rapidly changing world – they will rewind some of their developmental work and ask some fundamental questions about what tools are going to be needed.”

Ray Poynter
Owner, The Future Place

Qualitative

“Most of the changes happening right now are taking us towards qualitative research”
“Most of the changes happening right now are taking us towards qualitative research, such as online communities, blogs, ethnography, semiotics, and neuroscience. We’re shifting away from questioning and towards listening, which is a shift towards a qualitative epistemology. This will be a major challenge for market researchers. At the moment most research (by value) is quantitative and many people will need to brush up their skills in 2010, for example grounded theory analysis. Since the industry has largely abandoned random probability sampling they’ll need to get their heads around concepts such as triangulation and confirmatory, disconfirming, and maximum variation samples.”

Jeffrey Henning
Founder, Vovici

Probability

“However affordable it may be, a survey done in an access panel is representative of its respondents only”
“What ‘subprime lending’ was to the financial industry, ‘access panel’ was to the market research industry. Last year’s study by David Yeager and Jon Krosnick reminded us all of something we knew but chose to ignore. The laws of mathematics have not been repealed: a convenience sample cannot be used to extrapolate to any target audience. However affordable it may be, a survey done in an access panel is representative of its respondents only. Let’s be forthright and describe such surveys as qualitative. As a result, I think it is probable that 2010 will see a renewed emphasis on probability sampling.”

Reineke Reitsma
Research director, Forrester Research

Listening

“Most market research is still about ‘asking’ – using questions to understand consumers’ needs and wants”
“The market research toolkit needs to include more qualitative ‘listening’ in 2010 to uncover the story behind the numbers. Most market research is still about ‘asking’ – using questions to understand consumers’ needs and wants. But some in the industry are collecting a lot of data on customers by listening: they’re analysing web statistics, online brand-tracking information, marketing campaigns, and insights from CRM. Consumers interact with companies via different channels and platforms and they expect companies to understand that – they don’t want to be asked about things they already shared and they will not accept this disconnect in the future.”

Chloë Fowler
Co-founder, Razor Research

Fulcrum

“We must strive to be the lever that drives change and results for our clients”
“Research will work harder to be at the centre of client, media, advertising, design and digital agency relationships. We can and should be pivotal to decision making and we should be ensuring that our results reflect the needs of all parties. There is so much crossover between what our clients demand of all their agencies, and with our unique knowledge of their end consumer and perceptive understanding of business, brands and marketing, we must strive to be the lever that drives change and results for our clients.”

Niels Schillewaert
Founder, InSites Consulting

Ethnographical

“While consumers participate less in traditional surveys, they generate more information than ever before”
“Research will be more ethnographical and holistic. While consumers participate less in traditional surveys, they generate more information than ever before. Consumers cache their lives online and are ubiquitously available via mobile devices. We can take advantage of this by observing consumers’ actions by becoming friends online, scraping publicly available content and text-analysing it, and prompt people to feed information while they are ‘on the go’. Traditional research will persist, but market research will have a more multi-media and ethnographical flavour. We will fuse methods and generate more insights without actually asking questions to come to a more full understanding of consumers.”

Lorenz Gräf
CEO, GlobalPark

Essential

“The challenging economy in 2009 forced research organisations to focus on the core of what they do and what clients want”
“The challenging economy in 2009 forced research organisations to focus on the core of what they do and what clients want. Through cutting back, companies had to differentiate the ‘need to have’ from the ‘nice to have’ and find creative ways to do more with less. I expect to see more of this focus on the essential in 2010. This means exploiting new technologies to enable clients to reach consumers in their preferred environments; expanding customer relationships into product and service innovation and last but not least, ensuring new insights are applied appropriately, both in strategic decision-making and on an individual level.”

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