Evidence giving way to gut instinct, fears Poynter
UK— Vision Critical’s Ray Poynter worries that society is moving away from a culture of evidence-based decision making in favour of gut instinct.
But it’s less a conscious choice, more one brought about by the failure of the market intelligence function to respond in good time to the needs of executives, says Vision Critical’s group CEO Scott Miller.
Speaking at a client summit this morning, Miller - a former top ranking Synovate executive - said: “I’ve watched more and more decisions being made by CEOs and CMOs without the benefit of market intelligence. The market intelligence function can’t react quick enough to the number of decisions these executives are having to make.”
Traditional market research agencies struggle with speed, cost, relevance and finding the right people, he said. Poynter agreed. He said there is a perception among senior executives that market research will take too long. “And late is useless,” he said. “Speed is becoming fantastically important.”
“Cheaper, faster, good enough” might well be the mantra of the modern business world, he suggested.
Fundamentally the research model needs to change - or will be changed by the emergence of disruptive technologies.
Things like gamification, behavioural economics and mobile compatible surveys - while important - are ultimately just “sticking plasters” to help our existing models “limp along a little longer until new models can come into play,” Poynter said.
In terms of real disruptive change, he pointed to community panels - Vision Critical’s main business - arguing that these allow brands to take back ownership of the insights which they had previously outsourced to agencies.
SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) is another disruptor, Poynter said, giving brands and researchers the ability to be where behaviour takes place.
Greater use of sophisticated text analytics will mean researchers will no longer have to limit themselves to closed questions, while AB testing will allow for cheap, quick and effective iteration of advertising and communications materials.
Further over the horizon, there’s Big Data. CRM, transactional data, social media activity - “a lot of insight is going to come out of that in the future”, said Poynter, although currently “information is going into the database much faster than it is coming out”.
Then there is augmented reality, which presents an opportunity to bring research into the consumer’s environment rather than having to bring consumers into the research environment. Software bots are also advancing, Poynter said, and will one day be able to interact with consumers, answer their queries and ask questions in the way researchers currently do.
Lastly he pointed to crowd sourcing, powered by social media. Insight questions won’t be put out to tender in the future, Poynter suggests. Instead companies will put out a general call for someone to come to them with the answer in much the same way that Darpa’s Red Balloon challenge sought to leverage the internet and social networks to locate 10 balloons scattered across the globe.