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 […]

Feedback from the MRS Conference in London

This week’s MRS Conference in London was one of the best events I have been to in the last year, generating lots of material to think about. There was a great mix of thinkers from the industry, ideas from outside market research, discussion, and good networking. The conference was true to its theme of the ‘Shock of the New’. The only weakness that I think is worth mentioning, because it is a reoccurring problem, is that there was too little international content. If the UK is going to command a position as an innovator, it needs more input from outside the UK, IMHO. Key elements, for me, included: The limitations of Big Data The panel discussion, including great contributions from Lucien Bowater from BSkyB and Mark Risley from Google, emphasised the current limitations of big data in terms of the sorts of problems that market research is asked to answer. Big data approaches work best when there is a clearly defined, narrow question, and sufficient resources to find an answer. In many cases, market research is being called on to answer a more general, less well defined problem. Lucien, more than once, made the plea for research to tell him […]

Two disruptive ideas for a disruptive conference

This year’s MRS conference looks to be the most unsettling for years. The conference includes a range of new topics, each talking about how the non-research world will impact the cosy world of market research. If you can make it to London on the 19th and 20th March, I’d recommend it – if not, watch out for the digital outpouring. I am lucky enough to be involved in two sessions and my colleagues at Vision Critical are the sponsors of the Research-live.com hub. The two sessions, both with the potential to be disruptive, are: A workshop on the application of scenario planning, futuring, trendspotting, cool hunting. Which I will be co-presenting with my Vision Critical colleague Niamh Tallon. A panel discussion on crowdsourcing, with four practitioners from outside the world of market research. The session is intended to highlight where crowdsourcing is at in 2013, and why market researchers should be learning from it. Read About The Crowdsourcing Panel Not everybody can attend the MRS Conference, and even for those who do, there is never time for long introductions. So the downloadable documents below provide an initial briefing on crowdsourcing, and the four organisations who will be taking part in […]