Challenge climb_crop

FEATURE3 January 2018

Preview 2018: biggest challenges

Features GDPR Trends UK

It’s the General Data Protection Regulation basically, with a few other mentions from our panelists.


Christian Dubreuil, managing director Northern Europe, Research Now
In our recent client survey GDPR came out as the top challenge for the market research industry and with just 8% of respondents saying their company was ready for the new regulations it’s no surprise. The handling of data is integral to our industry, so we need to be prepared for this.

Harley Titchener, head of research, dunnhumby
GDPR could be a challenge for organisations that are unprepared for the upcoming changes. High profile data breaches have heightened consumer concern around data security and have done little to allay consumer fears about how their information will be used/who will it be shared with.

Jane Bloomfield, head of sales and marketing, Millward Brown
The EU GDPR – it’s dull but deadly. Every business in the industry holds so much data on different areas of people’s lives, the need to protect it all is a tremendous pressure. The regulation will touch so many aspects of what we do, with an impact on panel permission, live recruitment, consumer device data, geo-location, respondent level data use and more.”

Ray Poynter, chief executive, The Future Place
Perhaps GDPR – I expect some epic failures, some of which will be MR.

Will Ullstein, commercial director, YouGov
With a hard GDPR deadline of May 2018 fast approaching, businesses must ensure they are ready. There is, however, a staggering range of opinion out there as to the implications of GDPR; at recent conferences some have described GDPR as a Y2K-type ‘nothing event’, others are forecasting Armageddon. 

GDPR is complex, but reduced to its underlying principle, it is designed to strengthen the rights that EU individuals have over their data, and to ensure that companies process that data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner. YouGov views GDPR as an opportunity. 

Jane Frost, chief executive, MRS
At a macro level we are at a crossroads – we either adopt, adapt and own the new technologies and concentrate on selling the impact and effect of what we do, or we will struggle increasingly with relevance; however, this is also a huge opportunity. At a tactical level we have a mountain called GDPR still to conquer.

something other than gdpr...

Rowena Patterson, head of consumer research, Simpson Carpenter
As sales of voice control devices gain momentum, the way consumers interact with brands and retailers is all set to change. Ocado has now become the first supermarket to launch an Alexa app which will influence how people engage with the brand and fulfil their shopping orders. As more brands and retailers take up the technology, traditional routes to market will be disrupted which will make it more important to understand consumers’ relationships with brands and purchase journeys. 

Andy Brown, CEO, Kantar Media
Talent. This has been a big challenge for a while now. We need to compete harder than ever to recruit and retain talent given the strong position of the digital and technology companies –particularly in methodology and statistics.

Annie Pettit, research methodologist
Our biggest challenge continues to be recognising that technology companies are market research companies. Regardless of what a company produces or how they promote themselves, if their products contribute to understanding markets and consumers they are part of our industry. We need to pay attention to them even if they don’t go to our conferences or write articles for our magazines. Our clients are looking for companies that solve problems not companies that write questionnaires.

Ben Page, chief executive, Ipsos Mori
Moving fast while helping the world understand that a) facts do exist and b) so do margins of error.

Leah Kennedy, head of global insight, BT
Making sense of the vast amount of data we have at our fingertips and working out how best to collect, manage, combine and interpret that data to understand our customers better.  

Hayley Ward, head of insight partnerships, M&S
There is still a big opportunity for us to better marry behavioural and attitudinal insight to tell a rich, holistic understanding of the customer. The pace of change is so fast that we need to be moving quickly to keep up – in terms of how we capture data/insight, how we share with stakeholders for maximum impact and how we engage in the consumers in a way that gives us the right response to make the right decisions.  

Tom Ewing, head of communications, System1
Trying to deliver objective analysis and data in an age of severe confirmation bias, partisanship and ‘fake news’. It’s never been easier to just shoot the messenger.

Peter Totman, head of qualitative, Jigsaw
How we articulate the benefits of research in a more balanced way. What skills/talents do you see as being most vital to the industry? The human skills that will ensure the industry survives and thrives as the Bots take over… intuition, imagination, empathy, originality.

In a series of articles reviewing 2017 and looking to the year ahead, Research Live explores the trends and developments shaping the market research industry today.