FEATURE10 August 2015

Ones to watch: five key MR trends for the next decade

Features Technology Trends

New technologies and techniques have been pivotal to the major evolutionary period market research has undergone in the last five years.

Contrary to the widely held belief that MR is notoriously slow compared to other industries (and parts of it certainly are), technology is driving pace at a relatively speaking break-neck speed.

Geo-IP triggered event-based surveys

While it may have been touted widely, this opportunity is still largely untapped. The real excitement here is around being able to unlock the transient population and those whose lives move across multiple devices and locations. Geo-IP tracking and triggering has the potential to serve surveys and collate data passively on consumers and create micro-segmentation of consumer profiles. It is also the most likely way to truly ensure research captures those younger audiences that have already moved on from the likes of Facebook to other social media platforms.

Since the effective use of this technology will require a ‘native app’ on a mobile device, key to adoption will be the successful evolution of current mobile survey design, which will enable growth in mobile research participant transactions and make the large-scale mobile panels required for Geo-IP triggered surveys viable.

In-app feedback

The opportunity to integrate with the infinite number of existing apps, from gaming and health to sports and lifestyle, is huge. With people increasingly living their lives on mobile devices and within apps, research has a significant opportunity to look at innovative ways to immerse itself within this environment. The trick will be to do it in a way where the feedback channel becomes part of the app ‘skin’ and a seamless extension of the original consumer experience with that particular app. So relevance of content and research and design are key here.

The revenue opportunities may be large, as:

  • the challenge of getting the ‘native app’ on the participant’s mobile device is removed
  • the data already collected by the app could be used or extended to enable ‘data synthesis’ (see data synthesis section below)
  • it offers the ability drive very large research transaction levels

‘Appification’ of research

It’s no secret those already practicing in this area are seeing encouraging early results and there appears to be an entire segment of willing buyers looking for research products and services to be simplified, more accessible and affordable. Efforts by Zappi, MetrixLab, Qualtrics and others in creating research apps and marketplaces that commodify market research methodology are starting to unlock this potential. So in the future, many core research study types will be available from stores to purchase and run in a few clicks online.

Sample automation and optimisation

Exchange-based automation and optimisation for sample buyers and sellers are associated more with the advertising or financial sectors than research, although that is changing. A few first movers, Cint being one of them, are already doing large volumes of automated and optimised trading, with little or no touch surrounding the ordering and delivery of online samples.  For this particular trend to really scale however, further standardisation is required around definitions and terminology from a coding and API infrastructure perspective.

Data synthesis

This refers to integrating and harnessing the power of surveys with client data assets and big data sources to create a 360 degree view of a consumer or a business. Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a key consideration within insight today, so bringing CRM and EFM (enterprise feedback management) systems into MR and combining the power of the two will help create the all-important story; effective story telling still resonates with audiences.

Some providers are doing this already; a good example being Live Nation, whose IBM SPSS ‘Modeler data-mining workbench’ analyses survey data in conjunction with other data feeds such as customer purchasing behaviour, transaction trends and demographic data. The costs to do this can still be prohibitive though, as the recipe for success requires the right blend of technology and skill. Furthermore, this brings up two key issues for MR agencies: effective use of technology, and training of the next generation.

This could also be a huge opportunity in MR business transformation, leveraging the evolution of data and the way that MR clients will expect to consume data and insights.

Richard Thornton is global commercial director for Cint

1 Comment

5 years ago

Richard, these are real trends and I agree with everything you write. I would like to add that "listening" to unsolicited comments will be part of the data synthesis trend in addition to behavioral data (transactions) and survey data. Also I would rank them differently if the ranking means importance. I would put data synthesis on the top. What do you think of agile research using private online communities?

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