Disappointed sad_crop

FEATURE22 December 2016

2016 Review: biggest disappointment of the year

Brexit Data analytics Features Trends UK

There doesn’t seem to be a single round-up of the year article that doesn’t involve Brexit and this one looking at the things that let our panel down, is no different.

brexit and polling

“The communication in the run up to the Brexit vote left people feeling very confused, and I think it’s fair to say that we are all now feeling even more confused about what Brexit really is going to mean and when it is actually going to happen. From a research perspective, Brexit (and the recent US election) leaves a lot of questions around the effectiveness of polling that still need answering.” Caroline Frankum, CEO EMEA, Lightspeed

“Polls. Both the Brexit referendum and the US elections were disastrous for the reputation of the industry as a whole. How representative are surveys? Can we still rely on insights that are based on survey research?” Frank Hedler, director of advanced analytics, Simpson Carpenter

“Although the campaigns were fascinating, the biggest disappointment this year has to be the difference between the predicted outcomes of many of the political opinion polls, and the results of the EU Referendum and the US elections.” Susan Vidler, head of research, Harris Interactive

“The Brexit vote and its implications for diversity, business and feel-good factor.” Kirsty Fuller, co-founder and CEO, Flamingo Group

“Brexit surely? Unless an extra £350m is now being ploughed into the NHS each week and no one has mentioned it?” Will Galgey, UK CEO, Kantar TNS

“For me it is Brexit – not necessarily the political decision, but both as a business and an industry, we are very reliant upon and benefit hugely from the wealth of international talent we are fortunate to have in this country. I hope that in post-Brexit Britain we do not lose access to such talented workforce.” David Day, global CEO & president, Lightspeed

“There’s been quite a few this year. Brexit, Trump, the continuing failure of the Labour party to offer a credible alternative ... take your pick.” Anna Cliffe, joint managing director, Trinity McQueen

“The doom-mongers that overreacted following the Brexit vote and talked themselves into a problem by speculating about emergency budgets and measures. There is a lot of fantastic work being done in our industry, showcasing how market research can deliver good ROI regardless of the state of the economy. Good companies will always find a way to conduct great work and gain a competitive advantage whatever the economic state of affairs, and we must focus on factors that are in our control rather than worrying about those that are not.” Crispin Beale, CEO, Chime Insight & Engagement Group

“When polls showed the edging ahead of the Leave campaign, much of the industry and the country found it impossible to believe. We ignored it at our peril.” Jane Rudling, managing director, Marketing Sciences Unlimited

big data

“From a marketing perspective, the continued discussion in some areas of big data being the ‘be all and end all’ and how this continues to dominate the headlines. The reality is unless you can make sense of data then it is not useful at all. The focus should be more on deep diving and drilling down into smaller datasets, and/or making connections between datasets, than trying to look at everything together and looking too broadly.” Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing, Kantar Millward Brown

“Collapse of big data – analysis is only ever as good as the data itself.” Deborah Mattinson, founder director, Britain Thinks

market research

“The failure of the market research industry to articulate an adequate defence of asking people questions. We need to get better at this in 2017.” Colin Strong, global head of behavioural science, Ipsos

“That pop-up customer satisfaction surveys refuse to die in the face of repeated, vicious attack. Now thinking about the 74th visit you made to the store this year, how would you describe the appearance of the facilities….? It tells us a lot about the enduring comfort of dull data (as well as bad data) in organisations.” Matt Lynch, chief strategy officer, Big Sofa


“Rational irrationality. Although we don’t deliberately seek to believe false things, we can’t be bothered in a post-truth world to put in the intellectual effort and be open to evidence that may fundamentally contradict our beliefs. Looking back over 2016, this has been a hallmark of the year.” Joe Staton, client services lead, market opportunities & innovation, GfK


“We’ve seen some of the technology giants have a rough year. From manufacturing problems that have caused Samsung Galaxy phones to explode, to Apples underwhelming launches of AirPods and the Apple Watch 2. Additionally, we’ve seen companies like Fitbit unable to manufacture products to keep up with demand.  It’s been a bumpy year for technology companies this year. All of these challenges, with the exception of the exploding mobile phone, should have been remedied by better market research.” Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO, Toluna