NEWS14 March 2012

GRIT finds commodity fears, hopes for change

North America

US— Market research is on its way to becoming a commodity, according to 58% of agency researchers who took part in the latest wave of the Greenbook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) study.

Clients were more positive about the status of MR, with only 43% agreeing with the commodity statement. Top of the list of perceived threats to the industry is DIY research and surveys, but curiously 58% of respondents plan to increase their use of DIY tools for online surveys.

“The use of technology to create efficiencies in research can generate equal measures of concern and hope,” say the GRIT authors.

So while DIY risks devaluing and commoditising surveys it can also help clients’ research budgets go further. A majority of research agencies say they are expecting or experiencing an increase in research spend this year, but less than a third of clients agree that’s the case. 27% of buyers expect spending to decline year-on-year, while 44% say budgets will remain the same.

Other threats identified by research buyers and suppliers are social media monitoring and mining tools and other online techniques that do away with the need for human input, lack of research skill and knowledge and sample concerns.

But on the flip side, social media, mobile and other new methodologies present opportunities. A majority of both buyers and suppliers say the industry is going through a period of significant, but 70% say this is a positive thing.

GRIT is less clear on what this change looks like at a practical level, but Greenbook editor Leonard Murphy says an “outline and direction” of the future of the industry is emerging.

He writes: “We know that the research professional is under immense pressure to deliver value and measurable business impact. We see new technologies and research models less bound by traditional precepts of best practices gaining traction. We see companies that embed innovation into their messaging gaining mindshare (and perhaps market share as well).”

Click here to access the full GRIT report, or here for an infographic of the key findings. Results are based on the responses of 818 respondents, 15% of whom are clientside researchers.

  • Elsewhere on the site today, Chris Dowsett kicks off a new series of articles on how research can avoid the commoditisation trap based on his on-going study of the value of research data to business leaders.