Threats to the Industry

19th March, 2014

I recently stumbled upon a series of market research related blogs concerning perceived threats and opportunities in relation to the future of the sector. Here I will amalgamate them into one easily readable chunk:

As technology continually develops, so should the researchers. All the technology in the world does not matter if there are not enough skilled individuals to utilise the tools at hand. The industry must develop a focus toward attracting and training skilled individuals, something it is not current always doing. A career in research varies hugely and anyone can follow a global research path discovering new ways of thinking and new technologies, as well as assisting in decision making for global companies. As well attracting more graduates, there needs to be a larger number of graduate openings in a wider variety of locations – not just situated in large centres. Certainly, establishing key criteria and job ‘level’ that visualise how someone can progress in a research career would be useful as well as highlighting the expected learning variety an individual may encounter.

As we speak of individuals utilising the tools at hand we must consider the immediate concerns over data: where it comes from, who owns it, where will it go and importantly: how will it be used. As global companies become more reliant on large scale data analysis (big data) the emphasis on data use moves toward a succession of quick experiments where there are only two outcomes – X or Y. Understanding how to manage new data could become central to all forms of research where one is required to discover the nuances of the materials, rather than pump out continually answers. Also inherent in this issue is a lack of persona from the industry. If all research is carried out through sheer data analysis participants will shy away – although if they have already digitally provided their information, to what matter is this?

With data in mind, another key aspect emerges. Whilst data is key, the way we promote and imbibe it is perhaps lagging behind. How many research meetings have you attended where data is still handled using extremely long PowerPoint presentations? However, this is not about a short jump to ClickSlide or Prezi: it manifests in the difficulties researchers have in presenting their findings to a wider audience languishing outside the research community. Major news outlets now handily present data rich complexities with interesting infographics that appeal to the mass market – and whilst I am not suggesting that it all needs to be handled in this manner presentations of data could be more compelling to the individuals that will be basing their decisions from the contextual information provided.

Finally, some perceive the growth of the industry itself to be the problem. Research is the backbone of all industries and is deployed globally to help ascertain ‘insight’ into the current market sector. But what do we know about ‘insight’ and how can continual growth assist market researchers attain it? Market research cannot continue in the traditional manner; nor can it begin to rely solely on the rapid advancements in technology. And in that, the medium of traditional and the modern, the need to remain humanised by interaction with participants as well as maintain the exacting high standards expected of researchers to promote the industry as more than a quick fix, or a quick turnover of ideas.

So whilst we see that these are potential issues in the coming future for not only market research, but the research industry in general, we leave you with this:

‘Human intervention is and shall be required to understand humans.’

This blog is an overview of the blog series found at #newMR, written by business owners and thought leaders in the research industry. Follow the blog for more additions as well as the full articles these points were extrapolated from.

Check back here for the follow up on the current research industry opportunities.