One of the better issues Quirk's releases on a yearly basis is their Corporate Researcher Report which highlights key takeaways from the client-side of market research. Being fortunate enough to work on both sides of the market research fence (corporate and supplier) over the past 12 years, it's always interesting to me to see how this side of the fence feels about the industry. Both sides offer unique benefits but ultimately need to work together to advance the industry and ensure market research always has a place at the management and strategy table.
Data is more available now than ever before which has put more stress on the industry to make sense of it all. With traditional market research, analysts are always trying to acquire enough data to make the samples accurate and reliable. Whereas with big data, analysts are often overwhelmed by the amount of data, they struggle to find the time to analyze it, make sense of it, and prioritize.
Here are 5 of the findings from the Corporate Research report which stood out to me:
Half of all research departments find it challenging to act upon research insights.
This puts the onus on market research suppliers to act more as a consultant and less as a company which simply collects data. The value of market research needs to be further judged by outcomes and actions taken with the data. Suppliers need to stop bragging about the number of pages in their reports and begin bragging about how they've worked with their client to drive organizational change, drive marketing strategies, and drive operational improvements. Impact is what market research companies need to be measured by.
74% are satisfied with their job.
I suppose I am not shocked by this. Market research can prove to be a fulfilling line of work. It's a field which gives you an opportunity to work with a variety of departments and disciplines on the client-side (management, marketing, operations, etc.) Being on the inside you understand the impact of the research as well as having a role in next steps. One differentiator of supplier-side is your company is truly viewed as objective and third-party. A liberty you do not have when your market research impacts jobs and how colleagues do their jobs on the client-side.
Increase in usage of online surveys, online qualitative, and panel research.
Online research has opened doors and budgets for many organizations to conduct market research. Online quant and qual offer quality data, inexpensive methodologies, and timely feedback. The days of waiting weeks and months for your phone survey tracker results are nearing an end. Companies need data fast to drive decisions. Market research is adapting to be more flexible and responsive. Focus groups can take up to 4 to 5 weeks to complete, whereas bulletin boards can be structured and feedback can come rolling in much quicker.
Decrease in traditional focus groups, telephone interviewing, in-person interviewing.
All three of these methodologies offer a little more depth than traditional online surveys or panel research but are significantly more expensive and time consuming. So the question becomes, is it worth the trade off? It depends. The advances in online qualitative options including bulletin boards has helped provide depth in feedback, while keeping costs relatively low and timelines short.
Online qualitative is one of the most effective new techniques.
Case in point, online qualitative was rated as one of the most effective techniques for client-side researchers. MROCs have grown in popularity as well. Client-side researchers are looking for quick feedback from key stakeholders on a regular basis. Both bulletin boards and MROCs offer these types of benefits.
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