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FEATURE5 January 2021

Preview 2021: The role of market research in recovery

B2B Covid-19 Data analytics Features Healthcare Public Sector UK

From recruitment to understanding the biggest human experiment in modern history, it’s a tall order for research in 2021. What role can the industry play in the recovery from Covid-19 in the year ahead?

Deborah Mattinson, founding partner, BritainThinks
We have all played a vital role keeping those making crucial decisions on our behalf in touch with the public mood. Last year showed how limited all our filter bubbles are as our movement became more restricted and we all focused inwards. As the recovery process starts, it will become even more important for clients to root their thinking in where their audiences actually are, not where they think they are.

Anna Cliffe, joint managing director, Trinity McQueen
We can help to build back better by bringing the voice of ordinary people. Simple.

Ryan Howard, freelance data science consultant
Some have been yanked forward in their digital evolution, and with this comes uncertainty; the reasons to ramp up investment in customer insight are rarely so palpable. Strengthened by abnormality, we are the arbiters of corporate politic, and most ready to soothe deep commercial anxieties by charting the foreseeable, having the genuine experience of steering other sectors through the very same waters. If we truly believe that we deserve that seat at the top table, now is the time to show our mettle and to speak softly, so that others might lean in.

Andrew O’Connell, managing director UK, Dynata
To continue to help governments and healthcare agencies with identifying Covid-19 postcode and demographic hotspots, but also to understand in real time the constantly changing attitudes and willingness to comply with the latest rules.

Ray Poynter, chief research officer, Potentiate
By doing its job well, faster, cheaper and easier.

Jane Rudling, managing director, Walnut Unlimited
Helping business and government understand the sentiment of different groups of people as well as discovering what needs to be done to help people feel comfortable going about their daily lives as normally as possible and keeping the economy as positive as possible. Predicting behaviours and adapting clients’ brand strategy accordingly while building trust during the journey.

Ben Hogg, managing director Emea and Apac, Lucid
There will be a lot of people looking for work, many without research experience, but with skill sets that would definitely benefit our industry. So, speaking for myself, we’ll be open minded about recruiting people that can bring us something different, being less focused on industry specific experience and more on the new experiences and fresh perspectives they can bring to the table.

Ryan Barry, chief revenue officer, Zappi
We have the opportunity to understand consumers and input their views so well today. We can give so much with our collective power on any one of a number of causes in our own community. In our day jobs, we can help fuel business growth, which contributes to more people having jobs and money to spend. 

Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive, YouGov
As the world rebuilds itself after the pandemic, a couple of developments are likely. Firstly, events in the real world will change quickly, meaning clients will rely on up-to-date and immediately available data so they know what is happening. Secondly, budgets will be smaller in many sectors meaning they will have to know they are getting value for money from their data. This means clients are likely to want two things – fast, targeted, self-service research that provides instant answers to immediate questions, and an always-on connected data vault where deep analysis is available at the click of a button.

Crawford Hollingworth, founder, The Behavioural Architects
We are still in the biggest human experiment of our era. Lives are and will still be in flux, new behaviours are being formed and old ones replaced or evolved. We have the skills, passion and drive to help people navigate this swirling behavioural energy, to help build new stability in lives and new connection with brands and organisations. Behavioural science gives us the concepts and frameworks to grapple with this brave new world. We are in need more than ever and the world knows it... so how exciting is that?

Jane Bloomfield, chief growth officer, Kantar
As an industry, we can play a critical role not just in understanding general consumer needs and changing behaviour. We can use our insights and behaviour science to help inform policy and communication to aid the recovery of the whole nation. That is hugely exciting.