The world is changing, so market research must change too

The Smarter ResearcherMarket research is an applied discipline; its core purpose is to help organisations make better decisions. When the needs of the organisations change then market research needs to change to, to ensure it remains relevant.

I’ve been involved in market research for over 35 years and during that time the world has changed dramatically and the problems confronting organisations and brands have changed also dramatically. However, a growing number of organisations are saying that market research has not changed. The fear is that market research is becoming less and less relevant to the complex, digital, hyper-connected world of today.

Whist it is easy to find plenty of examples of market researchers leveraging the new realities, for example the growth in the use of behavioural economics, passive data collection, and insight communities, there is a feeling that the main body of market research is losing touch with the needs of today.

To help tackle this issue I have written an eBook on the topic “The Smarter Researcher”, which you can download from the Vision Critical website.

The book spells out the nature of the changes that have happened over the last few decades, such as the shift of power from manufacturers to retailers, the shift from the scarcity of data in the bricks and mortar world to the richness of data in the clicks and mortar world, and the customer empowerment that has come from choice and social media.

I list and describe 10 steps that market research can do to enhance its relevance and usefulness. For example in the point on Big Data (“Big Data is Not Enough”) I point out:

  • The more data that is collected, the more bogus patterns will be found in the data.
  • The richness of big data reduces the perceived importance of variables that can’t be measured by big data. For example, the market research firm Keller Fay has shown that 90% of a brand’s word-of-mouth occurs offline, but the focus tends to be on the 10% that is online, because it exists as digital data.
  • The people who are best at working with data, the data scientists, tend to have a poor understanding of business issues and human decision processes.
  • Big data is largely a rear-facing technique: it only predicts tomorrow when tomorrow is like yesterday. Big data predictions struggle to cope with new brands, new contexts and changing needs.

So, in the eBook I spell out recommendations for how market research should complement big data, for example in generating hypotheses for big data to check and to adding the human element to the data.

So, if you’d like to find out more about steps you can take to enhance your relevance, I encourage you to click on the link below and, in exchange for some information, download and read ‘The Smarter Researcher’.

If your find this post interesting, you might want to check out two other related posts I have written:

The Smarter Researcher

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