13th May, 2014
The future of market research is being decided today. The decisions we take as active participants in market research practices will continue to shape the landscape for our colleagues ten years from now, shaping the very core of their approach to research engagement. Methodologies that we establish and form the genesis of now will be finalised by future market researcher’s, and the technologies that we interact with, that demonstrate suitable success within research methodology frameworks and perhaps importantly, receive adequate financial support to enable growth, will be the tools for the coming generation.
Where will the iron strike? The mobile revolution has happened. Big data has arrived. Gamification is driving digital engagement for business. The range of technologies available to market researchers is perpetually expanding to present such variety in engagement techniques that it is somewhat difficult to ascertain exactly which entities will continue to thrive. We know that market research is an engaging industry built on the success of extrapolating insight from consumers, so we should expect expansive modes of automated communication that capture not only the explicit, but implicit feedback notions.
The rapidly evolving role of technology has an undoubted and currently unquantifiable presence in the future of market research. Understanding that technology will dominate many market research interactions is one thing; mastering the amalgam of technologies that will evolve is another. A fusion of collaborative and observational research, along with technologically advanced adaptive intelligence (AI) insight gathering modules seems to be a certain destination.
Whether market researchers choose to adhere to the technological progression is yet to be seen. Concepts (or should I say current adaptive intelligence practices) such AI promote researcher engagement with big data, encouraging not only researchers but businesses of all sizes to continually interact with data to solve problems. Whilst it creates a compelling argument for deriving consumer insight from our data driven society many would argue that simply expecting implicit information to provide the entire picture simply will not work.
The role of the consumer should not be understated. Their development will shape the requirements of the market research industry, tuning the methodologies and technologies to assist their contribution to insight. Mobility and direct ease of use are sure to maintain their hold on the sector as connectivity and smart-device penetration increases and as such the requirements of researchers to develop and maintain long-term engagement strategies will dissect the current limitations of mobile devices. Consumer data driven experiences will be further shaped by an evolving media marketplace that will also morph to drive engagement with the mobile consumer base.
Mobility has coincided with the rise of social networks. This increasingly collaborative method of operation for consumers potentially decentralises traditional methodologies in favour of widespread, long-term observational insight gathering that can be completed via remote technology. The traditional methodologies will become the tertiary data sources: focus groups, in-depth discussion and intercepts are potentially only required to determine specific examples of derived evidence, or garner specialised insight through direct interaction.
It is unlikely the future fusion of market research methodologies and technologies will destroy the traditional, humanised approach to insight gathering, as evidenced by our continued reliance on what has come before us. However, the role of data, implicit feedback, research technologies and collaborative research methods will undoubtedly shape the backdrop of the market research industry for years to come and as researchers, we should be prepared to engage with these developments to continue to provide outstanding insight for now, and the future.