Research trends for the Year of the Rat
As we’ve recently closed out the Roman calendar year and also s(l)ipped our way into the Year of the Rat, we felt it was time to keep up with tradition and share our Research Trends for the year to come. The field of Market Research continues to involve and it’s nice to see the different Research Trends evolving (or fading) over time. Without further ado… here are the Research Trends for the coming year!
1. Faster, Better and more tailored to decision making
Researchers will be required to compress research turn around times from 3 months to 3 weeks and 3 weeks to 3 days. We can clearly see a Research Trend where clients require insights faster. Maybe not a full report but things like a ‘one page key findings‘ document, 1 or 2 days after fieldwork is starting to become an expectation. Companies will lower the threshold for accuracy and make less important decisions faster.
2. Research & Consulting combine further
The founding principle of SPARC International was to combine state of the art research methodology with fit for purpose, value adding consultancy services. It seems that idea, now more than 5 year ago, has really become so apparent across the industry that it can be called a Research Trend for 2020.
Over time, researchers have been getting better at understanding the emotional engagement of a person with a brand, product, and advertising. The traditional struggle was to say what to do about those emotions, what they mean to a brand, and how to change the emotions. That knowledge continues to expand and improve which will make the measurement of feeling more valuable.
The services offered to brands will continue to bifurcate between providing unique data solutions (capture, types, analytics) and powerful consulting capabilities (utilizing market knowledge, issue knowledge, and industry knowledge). Full service marketing research companies who struggle to move in one direction or the other will continue to feel pressure on financial performance. Boutique research consulting firms definitely seem to have the edge here.
3. A Focus on Business Outcomes
This year, we will see a continuous focus on business outcomes and success driven by the increased integration of humans, data and technology. The combination of different data sources will enable us to move from results to insights to full-sight and eventually to foresight. For this, we will need curious individuals who can also answer the “why” question working hand in hand with best-practice technology solutions.
From descriptive analytics to predictive analytics towards prescriptive analytics – sounds too far fetched? We see it as an important Research Trend and are gearing up to deliver to this expectation!
4. Added value of Market Research changes
The key to survival as a marketing researcher will be going beyond mechanical data collection, simple analysis and interpretation, and plugging the gaps increasingly sophisticated AI and machine learning – and human data scientists – leave behind. Those able to design primary quantitative research who have a good grasp of statistics, as well as marketing and business generally, will be at an advantage, as will top-notch qualitative researchers.
At SPARC we see this Research Trend predominantly in the combination of Quantitative and Qualitative Research with our clients.
5. Research as a Service
The fifth Research Trend is all around ‘research-as-a-service’. Similar to software as a service, Research firms will start to provide a Do-it-together model combining research consulting and survey design and analysis skills. Combined with the use of technology tools, it will deliver significant cost and time benefits. This approach will increase the number of companies and projects that can benefit from market research, especially in cases where time, budget and lack of know how has previously caused companies to forgo market research.
6. Data coming from household appliances
An increasing number of household have ‘connected devices’. The Research Trend is around using the information that is or can be made available using this IoT devies. We have already predicted (and seen) a shift to ‘Mobile First‘ when it comes to online surveys. In this Research Trend, it’s more about the integration of the data collection experience with participant’s everyday devices:
- home appliances
- home systems
In short, there’s a lot of things we don’t need to ask anymore…. we already know them!
7. Re-Humanization of Research
The original Terminator movies predicted the rise of the machine & robots somewhere around this time. At SPARC, we see a different Market Research Trend. We declare 2020 as The Year of the Rise of the Humans!
Without a doubt, the competitive environment of the market research industry is changing rapidly and broadening from an old paradigm of traditional research to a new one that converges with both business intelligence and data analytics providers. Both GfK and Nielsen have sold off their custom research businesses in favor of building out syndicated products and third-party data providers are, in some cases, eliminating the need for primary research entirely. With the rise of automation, chatbots and AI, many researchers are scratching their heads and wondering…where’s the long-term opportunity?
After spending years creating technology solutions that speed the time to insights and optimize research profits, researchers (and investors) are becoming acutely aware of the negative impact many of these solutions have on both respondent experience and data quality. We see a definitive rise of the need to return to more authentic, real consumer interactions. Does it mean we throw technology out of the window? Nah… definitely not. We will however develop & embrace technology solutions that RE-humanize the industry as a whole!
So far for the Research Trends for the year 2020 / Year of the Rat. Hope you enjoyed reading our take on things. If you have any questions… do let us know using the contact form on this site!
Wishing you a healthy, prosperous and insightful year ahead!