Five Myths About the Crisis and the Insights and Market Research Ecosystem

UnicornPosted by Ray Poynter, 14 September 2020


This blog highlights five things that I keep hearing, and which I think miss the point.

  • 1 The word unprecedented is being used too much.
    The current crisis (the pandemic and the global financial crisis) is bigger, much bigger than anything you have had to deal with during your lifetime. There is a case that the WWI and the Spanish Flu, or the Great Depression in the 1930s, or WWII we comparable or bigger – but almost nobody running a business today was running a business in 1945 (75 years ago). The financial crashes that occurred over the last 50 years, the arrival of the internet, and the end of Cold War were all big events, but they were not on the scale (in terms of impact and/or global reach) of the current crisis.
  • 2 We are emerging from the crisis.
    The virus remains uncontrolled, there are no vaccines yet, Governments are running up massive debts, world travel remains largely suspended, Governments do not know how to balance infection and the loss of civil freedom, working from home is causing cities to suffer, marketing and research budgets have been slashed (in the case of market research by about 25%). What will happen next is unknowable. Things might get better, they might get worse, or they might stay much as they are now. I see too many cases of people using the past tense when talking about the crisis, as in ‘The crisis taught us …’ and ‘During the crisis, we did X, Y and Z’.
  • 3 We are all in this together.
    Lots of companies are really hurting, restaurant chains, airlines, destinations for international tourists are all having a terrible time. Suppliers to these industries are also having a torrid time. But, there are also companies who are doing really well. For example, Apple, Amazon and Walmart. We can’t focus on just the average company.
  • 4 The crisis is a great opportunity, step up your marketing and sales.
    Of course, the crisis will turn out to be good for some companies, but not most. (Do the maths, if the budget for research is down 25%, most companies can’t be doing better!) We are already hearing from research buyers who are saying a) they are being inundated by requests from sales pitches, leading to many starting to ignore messages from potential new suppliers, and b) because of cutbacks at many client companies there are too few procurement and compliance people to onboard new suppliers (check this report from the MRS). You need to be marketing and selling, but be targeted and respectful. Don’t tell prospects that you have a wonderful X, find out what their problems are and if you can help them, focus on that.
  • 5 Leading Edge Tech is the Key to the Answer.
    From studies such as GRIT and the current ESOMAR Buyers Study, we see that most of the shiny toys, biometrics, facial scanning, IoT, blockchain, Augmented Reality etc are a DIMINISHING part of the pie. Brands need to move faster at prices they can afford, most of the shiny toys are slower, take more effort to set up, and are often more expensive. The growth at the moment seems to be in simple projects (surveys, online forums, and online discussions), with a limited scope, answering key problems.

What Myths would you add?
I have listed my five myths, but what would you add to the list?

Want to hear more about the state of insights today and how to transition to 2021?
I am broadcasting two webinars later this month.

  • Insights 2021, 23 September, I’ll be looking at topics such as what’s hot and what’s not and how to transition from 2020 to 2021 – hosted by Potentiate. Click here to find out more and register.
  • International Marketing Research Trend Report 2020, 29 September, webinar hosted by JMRX with support for Japanese language attendees (講義は英語(ゆっくりクリアに話してくれます)ですが、日本語のサポート(通訳ではありませんが)がつきますので、英語が苦手という方もどうぞ安心してご参加ください), click here to find out more and register.

One thought on “Five Myths About the Crisis and the Insights and Market Research Ecosystem

  1. Thank you for the post, 100% agree. Adding one
    6. The “new” normal: it’s not new, most of the trends existed before the crisis, it’s an incedible acceleration of those trends. Don’t expect things to come back to “normal”: we’ll have to constantly adapt to continuous change and challenges. Agile organization will win. Is that the opportunity for small to win over big ?

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