The tectonic shifts in the world of business, driven by a range of forces such as rapid technological innovations, internet, mobile devices, social media and analytics, have had an impact on virtually every business function in organizations. Market research is also seeing some paradigm shifts driven by these forces as well as the ever increasing demands for faster, better and more impactful insights. Given below are some of the key trends that field of market research is witnessing.
Need for insights and not just metrics: The demand for insights that drive business metrics will continue to increase, challenging market researchers to move beyond their comfort zone. While there will always be a place for classic metrics such as brand health and satisfaction, the sponsors of market research are expecting market research to go beyond these answer the “so whats”. This trend is not new, but will accelerate in 2015.
Information integration becomes more critical, but remains a challenge: Market researchers would be forced to look at their research survey programs as just one of the many information sources they can / should use. With rich data coming from digital properties, social media, transactional data streams etc., business decision makers would expect integrated insights leveraging all these data sources. However, this will continue to be a major challenge for market researchers due to lack of relevant skills sets and organizational silos.
Digital data will play an increasingly larger role: With more marketing investments moving to digital channels, market research studies tracking these marketing investments and their impact would also need to evolve. Traditional surveys will become less relevant for the digital world and measurement would move to digital systems. This trend is expected to accelerate significantly in coming years.
Social media intelligence will continue to be of huge interest; however effective implementation would remain a challenge: While social media data can add huge value to market research, effective integration of social media intelligence with market research data would continue to be a challenge for market researchers.
Big data analytics and market research will continue the struggle for synergies: Despite the many predictions, “big data” analytics is still to make any real impact on market research. While from an information integration perspective there would be a few cases of successful alignment, for most organizations these two will exist and play in different fields.
Need for speed: Market research studies that takes month to complete is fast becoming a thing of the past, and this trend would accelerate in 2015. The pace of business decision making is becoming faster, and market research has to keep-up.
DIY Research would continue to grow: With DIY tools becoming more powerful, and increased awareness of these tools among client market research teams, the usage of these tools would grow rapidly in 2015. The DIY trend is becoming very visible even in developing markets.
These are by no means an exhaustive list of the key trends that is driving the market research industry. There are micro trends that affect specific sectors, and specific geographies. What is evident is that market researchers need to quickly adapt to these changes and leverage them to become successful and deliver value to their businesses.