FEATURE30 December 2019

Preview 2020: reasons to be cheerful

AI Brexit Data analytics Features Technology Trends

2019 had its fair share of challenges, both for the industry and society more generally. But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic as we begin a new year. We asked our contributors: what are you most excited about for the industry in 2020?

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Ryan Howard, director, advanced analytics, Simpson Carpenter
If you were to dig up a debrief from 10 years ago, you may be struck by how bland research used to be. Where once we bumbled around the slightest difference in average rating scores, we now speak the languages of behavioural change and pound sterling. As an industry, we are deliberate, distilled, and fiercely commercially focussed. With the growing importance placed on the voice of customer and trust in the power of data driven decision making, we are growing appreciative, responsive audiences that do not take quality data and rigorous analysis for granted.

Annie Pettit, research consultant
The entire future of marketing research is exciting. Every year, we get to take advantage of more and more advanced and increasingly useful technology like AI, AR, voice, and biometrics. This gives us access to and understanding of the human mind like we’ve never had before. On top of that, most of us are in research because we’re curious and we love to learn. These new technologies give us reason to gain new experiences, learn new skills, and come to work eager for more.

Sinead Jefferies, consultant, Watermelon
I am always cheerful when I look at the people in this industry.  The brilliant people who have been driving innovation and great thinking for years, and the new, sharp-thinking industry newcomers who are challenging the status quo and forcing us all to give of our best. We have such talent and ambition in this industry, and the brilliant work that is being done in all sectors is a source of immense pride.

Jane Frost, chief executive, Market Research Society
I’m excited about the work of our Senior Client Council and many of our leading clients who are demonstrating ownership and leadership in the sector – particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

Anna Cliffe, joint managing director, Trinity McQueen
Despite what you might hear from the doom mongers, the UK is the most dynamic and culturally advanced market in the world. And that’s why it’s such an exciting place to ply our profession and develop our people. We’re going to see a big economic bounce in 2020: get ready.

Ben Page, chief executive, Ipsos Mori
The diversity and creativity of what we do as an industry, coupled with the realisation that hard data still matters in a sea of data.

Deborah Mattinson, founding partner, BritainThinks
Even three and a half years on from the EU referendum, so much of the narrative is about what divides us. Our research backs this up, in that the public agrees that the UK is incredibly divided (and it’s a big source of worry!), but we’ve also found that people have so much more in common than they do different to one another. Once you peel back the layer of Brexit, the remaining issues that people in the UK care about today and their aspirations for the future are very much the same. There’s a big opportunity for the research industry to shake up this very pervasive narrative of divides and oppositions and start to identify what might bring people back together.

Crawford Hollingworth, co-founder, The Behavioural Architects
I feel that, in the UK, our industry has been treading water a lot during 2018 and 2019, all the while new tools and new ideas have been developed but not embraced. Certainty will unlock a new energy, dynamism and momentum in our industry – I’m writing this on 4th December crossing all fingers, legs and arms in hope!

Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA and APAC, Lucid 
The young talent that shines in our industry and are now beginning to take more senior positions of authority which will enable them to drive change.

Over the course of the festive period, Research Live is looking at the trends, developments that have shaped 2019 and sharing some predictions for the year and decade ahead.