Trends Disrupting the Future of Market Research Part 2

The previous article introduced two trends disrupting the market research industry; Part 2 explores two additional trends shaping the future of market research.

Market researchers are increasingly asked to be all things at once: accurate yet fast, tech-savvy yet methodologically pure, robust in detail yet able to quickly and succinctly deliver visual insights. To be successful, researchers need to understand the global trends impacting the market research industry and meet the evolving and tensioned needs of tomorrows client.

Transparency and Trust: Baring It All

Our growing ability to collect masses of virtual data and easily scrape, analyse and share information creates immediate demand for tighter standards and transparency. Big data and the era of “fake news” are creating growing concerns about privacy and scepticism in data sources. Market researchers that are transparent at every stage of the research process and foster close partnerships based on trust will outpace competitors.

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launched with the intention of adding transparency to consumer data storage. While the direct implications of GDPR and similar regulations on market research manifest in stricter guidelines for consumer data collection and storage, the industry should arguably be paying more attention to the underlying trend of greater demand for transparency. Market researchers should be as open about their usage of consumer data with consumers as they are with clients.

How to become a trusted partner of tomorrow

Always be straightforward and open with clients and partners about data collection methods. This may be as simple as documenting how you will find the right sample for a survey and ensuring data quality throughout the collection. It also means walking the client through the methods used to collect data and triangulate to solve their business question. Being open about the process helps clients feel confident in data gathering and reinforces the research team’s position as the expert.

The Evolving Market Research Role

New tools, inputs and best practices will blur as users tap directly into market research to speed decision making and stay competitive. This new environment creates a need for market researchers to redefine how they partner in the future.

Market researchers have always been the trusted providers of critical business information. Market researchers today are more engaged in asking “why” up front to drive stronger solution design, proactively deliver preliminary results, react and reshape next phases of research based on their expertise and learn alongside their clients in real-time.

In the future, market research must provide more guidance, requiring researchers to educate clients on which tools to use as options proliferate. This means getting involved even earlier and helping clients strategize their investment. But the job will not stop there. Market research partners of tomorrow must get more hands-on as they help clients maintain focus and work toward actions, not just insights.

Becoming the best in class partner

Push from simply presenting insights and recommendations to facilitating a dialogue with decision makers, ensuring not just an understanding of the results but buy-in and alignment on next steps. This could be as simple as having planned discussion points or facilitating a workshop designed to drive results into immediate action plans. The key will be to include the right stakeholders and decision makers in final engagements.  

Though challenges and change lay ahead, there will always be a need for smart, flexible market researchers who teach and empower their clients. Long-term success in market research will be striking the right balance across each of these trends.

Download the white paper “4 Global Trends Disrupting Market Research” to learn more.