The market research industry is changing as more and more we are seeing clients seeking out consultants for their sector experience to advise on business solutions, rather than simply sending out a fixed research brief.
That clients are reducing investment in qualitative research is worrying. Only by combining qualitative and quantitative methods can we deliver insight and help drive business development. Without this investment the MR industry cannot achieve genuine partner status.
We are finding that clients are demanding more flexibility from their suppliers in order to maximise true value (for example, commissioning major players to provide excellence in global data collection, while using other agencies for the consultancy support).
The dynamics are changing but it is even more important to prove that research is an investment and not simply a cost. Research agencies need to adopt advanced analytical approaches, combined with qualitative and quantitative customer engagement techniques, if they are to remain as trusted advisors to marketers.