Factors and Premises Affecting Insights and Market Research over the Next Five Years

Ball rolling down a mountainPublished by Ray Poynter, 3 October 2022

I am working on a new insights/MR scenario project with a time horizon of five years from now. One of the first steps in the scenario-creating process is to gather together the key factors and premises.

The Premises are things that are likely to be important and which, for the purposes of this project, we are going to assume will be predictable during the timespan of the project. The Factors are items which are also important, but where there are two or more plausible forms they might take during the timeframe we are considering.

Here is my current list of Factors and Premises – but remember it is a project in progress.

Premises (things I am assuming will happen over the next five years)

  • Data regulations will get stricter and more onerous
  • No ‘new’ research methods will become major tools
  • The use of customer information by organizations will increase
  • The supply of talented insight professionals won’t significantly increase
  • Timelines will get shorter, and budgets will tend to shrink
  • The demand for DIY research will increase, and so will the number of DIY options available
  • There will be more new entrants in the insights and MR world from non-traditional suppliers of MR & Insight.

Exogenous Factors (i.e. factors from outside the world of MR and Insights)

  • Geopolitical. 1) Things could stabilize. 2) Things could get worse (more conflicts, more undemocratic leaders, more sanctions, etc).
  • 1) We face some inflation and higher interest rates. 2) High inflation, wild swings in currency exchange rates, recessions, and crashes.
  • International Trade. 1) Trade stabilizes (e.g. more trade with China and Russia). 2) Trade gets less free, i.e. more barriers, tariffs and restrictions.
  • 1) Technology expands human connectivity. 2) Technology could become Balkanized, e.g. citizens not being able to connect to the global web.
  • 1) No immediate catastrophes. 2) One or more catastrophes, e.g. things like major earthquakes, nuclear accidents, water poisoning, volcanoes, pandemics and even asteroids – all unlikely but possible.

Endogenous Factors (from inside the world of MR and Insights)

  • Artificial Intelligence. 1) AI improves current processes. 2) AI significantly replaces current processes.
  • Platforms. 1) Continue to expand on the current trajectory. 2) Massively expands in terms of power, ease of use, and lower costs.
  • Participation levels. 1) Stable number of participants, and fraud is under some control. 2) Continued decreases in cooperation rates and fraud increases.
  • USA Dominance. 1) USA stays at about 50% of MR/Insights. 2) USA expands to 60% or 70% of total global MR revenue.
  • The role of qual. 1) Stays at roughly the current level. 2) Expands in volume and as a share of spending.

What would you add, delete, or change?

3 thoughts on “Factors and Premises Affecting Insights and Market Research over the Next Five Years

  1. I would think the failure of customer information will lead to less use by organizations in the future.
    I would think the supply of marketing researchers will increase – not so much the supply of talented ones.
    I don’t think timelines will get any shorter. I’m not sure they are really short now for any meaningful research.
    I don’t think DIY options will increase much – for the reason that there’s not much new to offer. Why would I go to new brand from old brand? I say that admitting I’m not a DIY survey expert.
    In five years, why would you not also assume inflation drops back to really low levels like it was before (2%ish). Not sure it will, just suggesting it as a variable.
    You haven’t added the collapse of Facebook as everyone figures out that Meta is stupid.
    I would also add qual shrinking, as a due-diligence exercise.

    Hope this helps

  2. Hi Ray -great list! I guess another external factor I am always paying attention to is the political polling, I think that and or alternative facts may undermine the value of our offering, or encourage many to free wheel more. Brazil elections this week top of mind, but the list is long and growing (not shrinking)

  3. I am pretty sure that ‘meaningful work’ will fall as a percentage of all projects. The growth I see, for example, from the studies I do with the trade bodies and the chats with the panel and community companies, is in tactical, fast research (often badged as agile). People are testing lots of small things, with quick and easy approaches. Complex solutions are used when a) easy solutions won’t provide an answer, b) the problem is important, c) there is time to solve the problem with a complex solution. For example, learning to swim is complex, but there isn’t an easier solution to being safe in the water, but if you fall into the river, the option of learning to swim is going to be too slow to save you 🙂

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