The Research Insighter: “At TMRE 2015 there were some pretty big words thrown around, revolution, extinction… what do you make of all this with regard to the state of the market research industry today?”
The market research industry is certainly dealing with some scary stuff right now.
Everyone’s talking about big data or data science, it’s the topic of investment and where the future lies. So that’s what’s getting managers’ attention. There are very real risks for market researchers and the market research community.”
BBC? Obviously media is the probably first and hardest hit by all of the disruptive technologies to date.”
Step one to “overcoming the peril”? Ask the business question you are trying to solve for.
We see piracy for example, in some countries, it’s a pretty clear signal of interest in the show. We don’t see that interest reflected in TV ratings. We have to find an alternate business model by which we get the show to those people in a monetized way. That demand is by definition not in the ratings. It depends on what business question you are trying to ask. Starting from a business question and saying ‘what data is available to help me answer that question’? ‘What’s the best data I should use’? not ‘what data do I have handy’? and then solving the business problem carefully.
That person now has to also take into account consumption, unmonetized consumption, social media engagement. That person has to tell a rounded story about what’s going on with that brand. Telling a story data source by data source is no longer useful to us as a business. That’s a slightly different skill set. The question for market researchers is: do people who run brand trackers have the skills, permission, encouragement and time to do rounded storytelling instead of being product focused. My opinion is yes, but they’re not always given the permission or time.”
The Research Insighter: “Has your department adjusted to this change with relative ease or has it been painful?”
If I am doing research I need to reach out to the measurement person and coordinate delivery of the right data, the financial person to tell if the revenues match, the social media analytics person to see what’s going on in that world…
Suddenly I need five or six people in the room before I can answer the question, and I probably need to have a discussion or debate to tease out the different stories coming from the different data sets. The coordination and teasing out the answer is really tough but it can be done, it must be done.
Therein lies for me a big part of the reason why this jeopardy, this peril that market researchers face can be overcome. Market researchers by nature have the skills. Given permission, time and the confidence to say ‘I am not going to answer this with the brand tracker, I am going to gather the right people, and pull the right data together and tell you a more rounded story’. Market research can excel and excite people even in this new world.”