No more surveys in 16 years?

Back in March 2010, I caused quite a stir with a prediction, at the UK’s MRS Conference, when I said that in 20 years we would not be conducting market research surveys. I followed my conference contribution with a more nuanced description of my prediction on my blog. At the time the fuss was mostly from people rejecting my prediction. More recently there have been people saying the MR industry is too fixated on surveys, and my predictions are thought by some to be too cautious. So, here is my updated view on why I think we won’t be conducting ‘surveys’ in 2034. What did I say in 2010? The first thing I did was clarify what I meant by market research surveys: I was talking about questionnaires that lasted ten minutes or more. I excluded large parts of social research; some parts of which I think will continue to use questionnaires. Why no more surveys? In essence there are three key reasons that I think surveys will disappear The decline in response rates means that most survey research is being conducted with an ever smaller proportion of the population, who are taking very large numbers of surveys (in many […]

Who are the top market research influencers on Twitter?

Back in July I asked ‘Who are the most influential market research people on Twitter?’ After some banter we narrowed the question to the #MRX tag and mid-July. I asked for nominations, Jeffrey Henning prepared a special version of his #MRX tweeted links report, and we have had input from ColourText, Texifter, and NodeXL. You can read the full report by clicking here, and the full report includes several links back to much fuller and interactive information form some of the people who have made this report possible. But here is a meta-analysis of the findings. To produce the list I tabulated who made the top ten of at least one of the lists, counted how often they made the top ten, and ranked them by that. So this meta list is a follows: Account Score euromonitor 5 lennyism 5 mramrx 5 raypoynter 5 researchlive 5 jhenning 4 thomasjohne 4 ipsosmori 3 kristofdewulf 3 tomderuyck 3 darrenmarknoyce 2 djsresearch 2 gavinspavin 2 lovestats 2 1sue3 1 colinstrong 1 edward04 1 effectiveresrch 1 erica_dfirst 1 joelrubinson 1 jonpuleston 1 lrwonline 1 mdmktingsource 1 tomewing 1 tomhcanderson 1 tweetmrs 1 visioncritical 1 A five means the account was identified as ‘influential’ or […]

Why beacons are a game changer in mobile research

Beacons are devices that send a signal to people’s mobile phones, which identifies when somebody is close to a specific beacon, which in turn allows locations (e.g. a Starbucks) to know that somebody is in their store, which allows a range of marketing and market research options to be enabled. Beacons are the key that unlocks location-based research, which is one of the key requirements of ‘in the moment’ research. OK, there is a lot of jargon in that sentence, so let’s unpick it. In the moment research. Traditional research was based on asking respondents to remember what they had seen and done. This was not too much of a challenge with really big things, like how many cars or refrigerators did you buy this month, and if you bought one, what brand was it and roughly how much did you pay. But if you want to know where somebody bought their bottled water, how they felt about the way they were served by a barista, or how their commute into work today went, the interactions need to be investigated during the activity, or immediately afterwards. This sort of research is called in the moment research. Location-based research. This means […]

What’s hot in market research?

One of the questions I get asked most often is “What’s hot in market research?”. The updated was broadcasted on Wednesday 20 August. Access the slides and recordings from our Play Again page. But here is a sneak peek into what is hot, still hot, bubbling under the surface, and not so hot. Still Hot It is important when looking at the ‘new stuff’ not to ignore stuff that has been around for a while, but which is still growing in market share, importance, and usage: Mobiles in traditional research. Mobile is a big and growing part of CATI, online surveys, and F2F – this trend has a long way to go yet. Communities. Communities (including Insight Communities and MROCs) have been the fastest growing major new research approach for a few years now, and this is going to continue. DIY. We hear less about DIY these days, that is probably because it has become normal, this sector is growing, both in terms of part of being a key part of existing MR and partly because it is growing the scope of market research. Hot! These are three of the items that I think are the hottest topics in MR, in […]

My take on social media – Sue Cardwell

Guest post by Sue Cardwell, marketing manager at Infotools Sue is a keen proponent of effective data visualization for business success. Sue has 10 years of experience in the consumer insight field across several countries. She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand and works for Infotools. Sue is an inveterate blogger and self-confessed chart geek who loves creating new vizzes in her spare time. Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series. If you would like to contribute a post to this series contact “Do you want to allow this app to post to Facebook?” No, I did not! I felt each new socially-connected service was an invasion of my private life. I was a classic lurker: someone who watches what other people post on social, but is shy about sharing. But I’m also a marketer. We get excited about the shiny new toys of social media. Gradually I found my barriers being broken down in favour of the benefits I gained. Time for a major attitude shift. As I gained confidence with social sharing, I made the decision to embrace transparency. I am who I am, and I’m happy for you to see […]

My take on social media – Maya Middlemiss

Guest post by Maya Middlemiss, Managing Director of Saros Research, a UK-based company specialising in market research recruitment. Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series. If you would like to contribute a post to this series contact This post focuses on what social media means to Saros Research. Research participant recruitment is all about connecting with people, reaching out to potential new audiences – and the social media revolution of recent years has given us an amazing array of new tools with which to do this. Our social media and content creation strategy is at the heart of our database development process, alongside a range of powerful offline tools which will always be needed as well. We create and curate extensive content to introduce the idea of research participation to people, and encourage them to register as potential participants – via our own blog and also guest blogging (such as a resident slot at Birds-on-the-Blog). Having pioneered database-driven recruitment in the UK since the turn of the millennium we are aware that there is still a vast potential audience out there who simply don’t know they can get paid to share their views […]

My Take on Social Media – Mary Aviles

Guest post from Mary Aviles of Bauman Research. Mary has 16+ years experience in strategic marketing, competitive intelligence, trends analysis, market research, product management, content management and now social media listening. Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series. If you would like to contribute a post to this series contact In his recent Greenbook blog post, Ray Poynter–someone we consider one of the rock stars of market research (#MRX)–discussed the current limitations of social media monitoring and listening for market research applications. From a quantitative focus, we totally agree with the challenges he cites and we very much appreciate his raising these issues. In fact, in working with the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) Social Media Research (#SMR) Special Interest Group (SIG), we’ve struggled with many of these same issues: poor quality sentiment analysis, the inability to export social media comment streams, the challenge of analyzing items like retweets, shares and the contents of those links. Certainly, there are significant hurdles to overcome in social media research. These can be extremely difficult if we’re talking about quantitative research. Several remain challenging if we’re talking about qualitative research as well, but as a supplement […]

Singapore MRSS Conference – for me the best one day event of the year!

Yesterday I was the closing keynote at the MRSS Asia Research Conference in Singapore, and I think it was probably the best one day event I have been to this year. The programme was strong all the way through and the people were great. Amongst the standout elements were: Dave McCaughan sharing a lot of information and thoughts about how mobile phones are re-shaping the world, looking at it in a much wider context than just market research. Melissa Gil from SingTel and Vijay Raj from Unilever giving the client’s perspective, with Melissa sharing some great insights into how SingTel are blending their big data (they are a telco) with their Vision Critical Insight Communities, and Vijay describing what is wrong with ‘business as usual’ and setting out an agenda for change. Ben Smithee from the USA shared a vision of the future that was articulate and inspiring, and set out his thoughts on why market research is such a great profession – a performance which won him the best presentation award. Pravin Shekar from India stormed the room with his Jugaad presentation, full of innovation and inspiration. If you get a chance to see his new mini-book take it, […]