The Evolution of Market Research

21 Mar 2016 | Research & Business Knowledge

Insight Intelligence is holding the Market Research Summit in May this year.  In preparation for, and to provide a solid foundation for discussion, the company conducted an online survey with 102 market research professionals, asking for their views on how the market is developing, trends, challenges and threats.  45% of those that responded to they survey were clients, so the views of the end users are well represented. 

Insight Intelligence has kindly given us persmission to reproduce the executive summary here, and you can read the full report by following the link and registering.  We have also secured a 15% discount for ICG members to attend the Market Research Summit – look in the events section for more details.

The Evolution of Market Research – Executive Summary

"Asked for forecase future spend, there is a relaitvely postive outlook with respondents across all parts of the business expecting budgetory increased or at very least parity over the coming months.  However, whether working client side or in an agency, research professionals are all concerned by the need to manage increasingly high business expectations and to achieve more with the budgets that they do have than before.

The respondents to this survey are relatively confident of their teams' ability to meet most of the challenges that they face.  Whilst our heads of research and agency diretors are moderately confident that they have theright skills in place, there is a recognition of the need to continually adapt to meet an expanded remit and the perennial challenges of finding and retaining talented people.  Clietns and agencies are united by one particular area where they lack confidence – how to integrate social media into their research approach.

In the brave new world of big data and cheap online research tools however, there is a recognition of common threats to the future of market research as a discipline: the procurement team's attitude to cheaper on-line research tools, the lack of understanding of the value added by a more experienced approach to research that this reveals, the lack of representation of the insight team on the board, the relatively low number of in-house insight teams who are given the responsibility of interpretating in-house data – all point to a need for agencies and in-house research teams to improve the way that they define the value that they add to business planning and strategy."

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Key client challenges include commercial pressures, growing revenue streams and the unpredictable business environmnet
  • Internally, clients are struggling to deliver greater insights and gain (and maintain) the skills to do so when techniques are changing rapidly.  Equally, ensuring that the status of the insight role is valued is also important
  • Agencies feel that respondent recruitment, client focus on DIY research tools and procurement issues were making the market a challenging one.  Budget reductions are a perennial threat, as is managing client expectations over what different approaches can deliver
  • Securing and retaining business in a highly competitive market are also issues faced by agencies
  • Despite all this, respondents (both client and agency side) are positive and confident in their ability to deliver research projects and adopt innovative approaches. The area where there is a lack of confidence was in knowing how to integrate social media into the research approach
  • Just less than half of clients thought that budgets overall would remain static for the next 18 months, with the remainder equally split between those who thought there would be an increase vs a decrease – but looking at the detail of these figures is interesting as different spend areas appear to be more or less robust
  • Most agencies thought that investment was likely to be static or grow overall in 2016 

If you want to read the full report and look at the underlying detail then click here