Getting the recipe (and decoration) right – Karen Schofield

Posted by Karen Schofield Innovations Director at Join the Dots, UK. If you ask a consumer walking out of a supermarket why they’ve got so much junk food in their trolley (admittedly, you might want to rephrase that rather than sounding like you’re accusing them, or they’ll never stop to do an interview), they’ll probably give you a rational, and likely very plausible, reason. Probably something like ‘ready meals are convenient’, or ‘the kids like them’, or ‘I was in a hurry’. And to some extent, this might be true, but what they probably won’t be able to tell you is that if they were hungry when they got to the supermarket, the chances are that their hunger, a ‘hot’ – or emotional – state, took over and they probably would have stuck more closely to their list if they’d gone shopping on a full stomach. We’ve all been there – we’ve skipped lunch and someone passes by our desk with a cake which is so much more tempting when we’re hungry, even if we’re trying to watch what we eat. Giving in to temptation is part of what makes us human, as we’re often (and more than we might […]

Market research has a great future if it is brave enough to change – Jane Frost

Posted by Jane Frost, CEO of MRS, The Market Research Society, UK.  Market research has a great future if it is brave enough to change. This was the challenge laid down by MRS Patron and Dunn Humby co-founder Clive Humby to a packed committee room at the House of Commons last week. The occasion was the MRS sponsored debate which asked whether big data was the death knell for market research. The challenge is valid. Last year MRS commissioned PWC to produce a report on the size of the market for research in this country. It was deliberately called “the Business of Evidence”, because I believe that only collectively and only by defining ourselves by our client value can we build on what has been historically, and remains as we speak, a world leading sector. We need to adopt the language of the people who pay us. We should not be asking our clients to do our work for us in promoting the value of what we do. You rarely hear the finance director defining himself by his accountancy qualification. I have rarely heard a marketing director do so either. So how come we as sector manage to promote so […]

Opportunities and Threats faced by Market Research – Peter Harris

By Peter Harris, Managing Director, Vision Critical Asia Pacific. I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few MR and Marketing Industry conferences in Australia, North America and Asia over the past 12 months. As always, these conferences are designed to scare the living daylights out of marketing and research professionals. They are highlighting how much things are changing, that consumers are more empowered than ever, that technology is the driving force, that clients are demanding more, faster, for less, and the fast flowing giant river of information (big data). In short, they are driving home the fact that the Revolution is on, i.e. “If you don’t like change, you will like relevance less”. In general I think this is right. But each of us has a chance to make a difference. As a global profession, our biggest opportunity and biggest threat will be defined and determined by how much we ourselves are willing to be flexible in a digital driven world. We need to find ways to keep up with change and feel comfortable in a land where we don’t know what is around the corner. It’s hard for many MR professionals to do this (as we love to be […]

Faster, cheaper and see into the future… – Tiina Raikko

Posted by Tiina Raikko, Director, Fuel, Australia. These are some of the opportunities. And in many ways have been what clients have wanted since way back when. The only difference is that technology and the digital age has made achieving this more real. It is fair to say that the research industry has been responding. Compared to 20 years ago we can get quality research faster and cheaper – the holy trinity which seemed so impossible back then. Simply moving many traditional tools and methodologies online has achieved this. The opportunity remains to look at our methodologies and approaches and ask “how do we do this even faster and more cost effectively?” Speaking from an FMCG perspective, the pressure on the research space is continuing to increase. There is less and less budget and less time to turn work around. We can’t create time so sometimes a quick and if not dirty but a little bit grubby method is better than nothing. Doing it right is best but if we don’t have the time then it’s academic. With less money to spend we need to pick the most important projects and we need to be clever about how we use […]

Opportunities and Threats faced by Market Research – Rosie Campbell

Posted by Rosie Campbell, Director at Campbell Keegan, UK. So, what I guess I’ve always marvelled at in the industry which happens to have chosen me, is its remorseless ability to shape-shift…to turn itself into an apparently newly-hewn, ready-buffed, more relevant version of itself. Market Research version 13.11. It’s a combination of survival instinct, business savvy ingenuity… and – yes, I do mean this – playfulness. When I first started as an idealistic and somewhat intellectually-vain quallie, I honestly thought I would know all there was to know about the human mind in a year or so (five at the outside…) But, pleasingly, the human mind has remained slippery to the last, and, more to the point it turns out that understanding how an individual ticks (for commercial exploitation) isn’t really the point anyway. Just when we thought we had methods for our goals, it dawned that the goals were flawed – or naive, or both… This has been the pattern down the years… A circular and evolving interplay between focusing on the goal, the method; new goal, new method; changed goal, changed method and so on… And it is but one version of the wonderful dexterity and agility of […]

Opportunities and Threats in a Brave New Market Research World – Edward Appleton

Post by Edward Appleton, European Consumer Insights Manager at a major multinational based in Munich, Germany. Much is written about how much Research has changed over the past few years – mobile is the latest big thing, social media is hovering in the background to be trawled for insights, ethnography is making a comeback, online qual. is proving extremely popular thanks to the speed and ease with which selected consumers can give their opinions on a whole range of subjects. Behavioural Economics has pointed out with much fanfare what qualitative researchers have always known – that context, social influence and emotions play a huge role in influencing what we say and do. It’s exciting times, and from a Client perspective almost bewildering – the array of options from which to choose from is expanding rapidly, and the new normal seems to be that any one insights challenge requires a mixed methodology approach, using online, offline, qual and quant. We encircle our subject with an ever better (we hope) sense of what’s really going on – making Research an even more powerful tool. So why the ongoing sense of Angst – that Research is threatened? Shouldn’t we be relishing change as […]

Opportunities and Threats in Market Research – Hannah Mumby

Posted by Hannah Mumby, Sales and Marketing Executive, Vision Critical, UK Having chosen to study Marketing and Advertising at university, I wasn’t prepared for the compulsory market research module. I faced every seminar with dismay as my classmates and I dreaded the endless dry statistics and spread sheets. The projects set were dull, the teacher unenthusiastic and applications to real life situations minimal. It didn’t take me long to form negative opinions about market research – research was boring, irrelevant and involved a lot of number crunching. Here lies what I consider as the most significant threat to market research. Too many people are put off by a job in research due to the same misconceived perceptions I had. What I failed to realise, along with many others, is how varied research is and how far it is from the impression I had been given at university. I had no idea at the time how nearly everything we consume – from the adverts we see and the products we buy to the prices we pay for them – has been a direct result of customer insights. Research is impacting everything around us and influences thousands of business decisions, so why […]

It’s the Behavior, Stupid: What is the single biggest threat to market research? – Neil Gains

Post by Neil Gains, the founder of TapestryWorks, based in Singapore. What is the single biggest threat to market research? Data! Data represents the existing business model of large multinational research companies who make money by selling as many interviews/surveys/data points as possible for as high a CPI (cost per interview) as possible. Data also represents a huge part of the future of market research. While “big data” is an opportunity to extract value from the ever-increasing flow of data from businesses and from the multiple devices that we all use at home and as we go about the world, this is also a huge threat. It’s a threat for market research companies and businesses, most of whom do not have the skill set to manage and analyze large data sets. More importantly, it’s a threat to the talent in the industry. As the pool of data grows every year, it becomes more and more important to have the thinking skills to ask the right questions, and connect different information sources together. This is not a skill that can be automated. And finally data represents the focus of much of market research on “measuring to manage”. By definition, most large-scale […]

Opportunities and threats facing the market research industry – David Smith

Post by David Smith, director DVL Smith and member of the ESOMAR Council. Fiedler, in his seminal work on forecasting, said ‘He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass’ so it is with some trepidation that I outline a point of view on first the threats, then the opportunities, facing the market research industry. Threats We could be hit by a tsunami of new data and an avalanche of expectations that overwhelm us as data scientists and other specialists step into the space we once dominated, resulting paradoxically in a dumbing down of our understanding of human behaviour. One future scenario is that the market research industry loses its way as new data owners take over our former territory. The emphasis switches towards setting up instant, large scale experiments to tell us whether we should do X or Y. In this scenario the importance of asking the ‘why’ question in order to provide a richer understanding of people’s behaviour becomes a lost art. We start living in a culture of experiment: just find the answer and then do it. It doesn’t matter about understanding what could be the subtle and complex reasons and rationale behind […]

Should links open new windows?

This question of whether a link on a website should, when clicked, open a new browser window/tab or simply use the currently open window has been heavily debated elsewhere, but not so much within the insights world. Until relatively recently, the general advice was to open external links in a new browser window or tab, for example by using the target=”_blank” instruction the HTML. However, more recently a well-informed, vocal, and at times vitriolic group of the digerati have been pushing for a change, suggesting that external links should show their content in the current browser window. The case for NOT opening a new window The alternative to opening a new window when somebody clicks on an external link (like this link [] to an article on this topic elsewhere), is to use the current window/tab to show the new location. There are broadly three advantages to NOT opening a new window/tab: Opening in the same window puts the user in charge, rather than letting the content provider influence the choice. If the user wants to use a new window or tab, they can right-click (or similar on non-windows devices) and select “Open in new window” or “Open in new […]