The reputation of market research has been in debate in regards to its usefulness with claims of it dampening creativity.
Although it still has its place, I think the use of focus groups and surveys is moving the reputation of research into the side of squashing rather than aiding creativity.
However, this year we have seen greater innovation in using different methods for research, through practises like neuroscience, using smartphones and tablets to collect insight, and mining data that already exists online, particularly through social media.
These innovative ways to get insight is vital in showing that it’s not all about focus groups.
With innovation comes speed and this year brands continued to seek fast research, an issued raised by researchers this time last year.
This is also a reputational issue, as quick market research can produce poor results. Good market research takes time. Innovations in how insight is collected, on a mobile phone for example, will help solve this issue and we’ll see a push for real-time insights.
There is a danger here for research and the industry being swallowed up as more companies have access to larger amounts of information.
Real time insight is where the industry crosses over with data. Data has undoubtedly been on everyone’s radar this year and it’s not going to go away. Brands have and want data; more important is the ability to understand what it means.
The industry will need to reassert its place with decision-makers within brands being an intrinsic part of data-gathering, rather than being swept away by it.
It’s seems as though it will be another hopeful but tough year for the research industry for it to maintain its value and reputation.
On that note, this will be the last thought from me this side of 2013. I hope you all enjoy the holidays.