Selling out isn’t abnormal for Quirk’s Brooklyn. In fact, they routinely sell out, which is an excellent sign for market research and insight professionals, practitioners and advocates like me looking forward to this year’s event. This year’s line-up is an exciting one. Here are some sessions that particularly caught my eye:
- NPR’s session on building a diverse millennial audience, presented by Gwynne Villota, Associate Director of Audience Insight.
- Target’s session on MROCs over that last decade and choosing an insights partner rather than the latest and greatest, presented by Emily Paladino, Customer Insights Manager.
- The insight leaders’ panel on enabling transformative change, presented by a reputable list of speakers including Johnson & Johnson’s Wilma Lam, Manager of Insights & Experience Strategy and American Express’s Christopher Frank, VP of Amex Insights.
These sessions stand out for a few reasons. First, they highlight how market research has evolved over the years and where it is today. Second, they tackle how the market research industry is changing and adapting to a new era of tech-savvy consumers and hyper-competitive organizations. Third, and my personal favorite, they highlight the crucial, transformative power insight has for organizations across the business and how to unleash that power.
Why are these three factors important? For one reason, market research is changing. But it’s not enough to know that we must adapt and evolve. It’s not enough to merely embrace this change. As research professionals, we should lead it.
Driving Innovative and Agile Market Research
We live in a digitally-charged, data-driven world. Consumers and businesses are discerning and expectant. Nowadays a scroll, a swipe or a click is often all that separates consumers and businesses from what they want. Needless to say, innovation and agility rule the day.
The rate of change continues to accelerate, and it’s being driven by technology. The Q3 & Q4 2018 GRIT report concludes that technology is emerging as a key driver of change in the market research industry, “Research is becoming far more technologically driven vs. service based, with the focus on ‘cheaper, faster, better (quality of insights)’ being the driving trifecta for making both investment decisions and methodology selection.”
“Research is becoming far more technologically driven vs. service based, with the focus on ‘cheaper, faster, better (quality of insights)’ being the driving trifecta for making both investment decisions and methodology selection.”
– GRIT Q3 & Q4 2018 Report
Leading that charge, GRIT found more than 40% view artificial intelligence (AI) as a game changer for the industry. AI also impacted methodology, with reports that AI is interwoven in new and emerging research approaches such as chatbots and machine learning. Similarly, GRIT reports increased investments in technology and automation within the research industry over the last year.
“Buyers, sellers, and all regions are focused on using broader, more integrated data, along with AI and automation, to tell better stories and yield more value in business decision-making” (Q3 & Q4 2018 GRIT report). Leveraging new tech in market research is imperative for driving more agile and innovative insights that generate more intelligent decisions.
And firms agree. Touchstone Research is known for innovative, leading-edge technical solutions and excellence in customer service and product delivery. “The industry is fast-moving, dynamic and in constant flux,” comments Aaron Burch, President of Touchstone Research. “To deliver the insight our clients need, we must embrace the latest in consumer tech and leverage leading tools and methodologies to not just reach people but communicate with them in relevant ways leading to more accurate insights and intelligence.”
“To deliver the insight our clients need, we must embrace the latest in consumer tech and leverage leading tools and methodologies to not just reach people but communicate with them in relevant ways leading to more accurate insights and intelligence.”
– Aaron Burch, President of Touchstone Research
It all comes down to being agile. There’s a massive opportunity for our industry and practitioners to elevate market research and insights to a strategic, business function—where I’d argue it should be and is for leading organizations. Sure, market research has never been more competitive than today. But crucially, it has also never been more important. To survive, we must meet increasing demands for faster, more detailed and more meaningful insight. To thrive, we need to innovate and reinvent.
Market research is changing. That’s clear. But the challenge shouldn’t be merely grasping onto our tried-and-true methodologies and techniques of yesterday. It should be reinventing ourselves and figuring out how to leverage new technology and new developments to deliver exceptional insight. It should be about leading this change as data experts and research analysts. It’s an opportunity for the industry, and I, for one, am excited for what’s to come, including the Quirk’s event in March. Hope to see you there!
Be a trailblazer. Reimagine research.