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FEATURE6 January 2017

2017 Preview: most needed skills

Data analytics News Trends UK

We asked our panel of experts what skills individuals in our industry needed, as well as what research agencies and insight businesses needed to get better at, in the coming year.

the individual

There were several reoccurring words that our panel identified as being requirements for individuals working in market research in the coming year; in particular: resilience; agility; entrepreneurial spirit; data literacy and storytelling.

“A ‘whole brain’ mind-set – exercising both creative and analytic skills.” Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing, Kantar Millward Brown

“A willingness to embrace disruption.” Will Galgey, UK CEO, Kantar TNS

“As a qualitative researcher I’ll pick empathy, intuition and the necessary erudition to be a ‘proper’ bricoleur.” Peter Totman, qualitative director, Jigsaw Research

“Finding the white space. We need to evolve in the same way our clients do. So, identifying where the gaps are in our client’s knowledge and how best to approach these so that we continue to deliver real actionable insight.” Jane Rudling, managing director of Marketing Sciences Unlimited

“Embrace change. One thing you can be 100% certain of in 2017 is more change. The pace of change in the next 20 years will be far greater than in the past 20. Embrace it, enjoy it, and capitalise on it. Or watch others around you make hay while you wither into obscurity.” Greg Dunbar, vice-president of sales for EMEA, Cint

the industry

“The bravery and confidence to reinvent, not just tinker.” Matt Lynch, chief strategy officer, Big Sofa

“Chutzpah. A good dose of audacity and nerve to help steer our clients and companies through the prospect of choppy waters in the coming year.” Joe Staton, client services lead, GfK market opportunities & innovation, GfK

“The skill of taking a specialism and fitting it into a multi-disciplinary team.” Ray Poynter, managing director, The Future Place

“Willingness to let go of the past and move with the times, embrace change.” Angela Morgans, managing director UK, London, MetrixLab

“To be at the forefront of extracting knowledge and value from data in all of its guises, big or small, deep or shallow, we will need to have the following cocktail of skills: creative problem-solving; storytelling and visualisation; analysis and interpretation; technical competencies; high levels of numeracy and literacy; right and left brain thinking; entrepreneurialism and courage; marketing knowledge and business acumen.” Alison Drummond, head of insight & analytics, Carat

“Building and giving clients confidence in these very choppy waters, providing behavioural footholds to connect to – making this period of uncertainty a time of opportunity full of new fears and new needs.” Crawford Hollingworth founder of The Behavioural Architects

“The reality in 2017 is we’re no longer measured by how well we’ve answered a question, or how well-rehearsed and water-tight our arguments are, but by how much money our research has ultimately helped to drive. We have to get into the business of RORI (return on research investment) if we really want to be counted.” Anna Cliffe, joint managing director at Trinity McQueen

“Marketing. We need to do a vastly better job of marketing our breadth and applicability of skills especially after a year in which many people lost all faith in us. Our industry codes have ingrained in us that we must separate marketing activities from marketing research activities. As a result, we've not learned how to market ourselves as well as we ought to.” Annie Pettit, research methodologist

“As identified by the MRS/PwC report The Business of Evidence 2016 and the subsequent Delphi report Towards an insight driven organisation, the most vital skills will be those which marry storytelling with data, empathy with stakeholders and technical acumen and agility.” Jane Frost, CEO, MRS

 Tomorrow our panel share their New Year’s Resolutions

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