OPINION21 May 2015

Take your partner by the hand


Partnerships are leading to greater innovation in the industry such as easier access to niche audiences. Cint’s global commercial director Richard Thornton outlines his top tips.

With sample supply deemed an ongoing concern and access to niche audience groups – as well as popular audience groups – in increasing demand, the market research industry has had to innovate when it comes to sourcing respondents.

This has led to a real focus on the development of unique and strategic partnerships, with guardians of data working together to create the most efficient ways of collecting and analysing numbers. This collaboration must remain a key component if we are to continue to drive supply to meet industry demands.

Data mashing

Merging Big Data with other sources to draw actionable insights will continue to gather pace with a range of technologies employed here, including facial monitoring and eye-tracking, allowing for behavioural data and self-reported data to be merged for more accurate insights.

Keeping everyone ‘appy’

With smartphone and tablet device ownership and use now exceeding PCs, along with mobile survey technology, including apps, making it easier for ‘digital’ surveys to be conducted; smart mobile and mobile app partnerships are emerging thick and fast.

App developers and publishers are benefiting from partnerships such as Appfigures, helping them access reports on app use and trends.

‘Appification’ is also moving into core market research business models, triggered by the emergence of automation and seen as a way to open up products and services. Much of the research process can be ‘appified’, and while tech firms have been quick to jump on this – with companies like Zappi with its Zappi Store platform leading the way, Macromill aims to be the first full-service player to include appification by developing a model around its suite of MR technology-led solutions – giving it the opportunity to completely manage and own the entire research value chain.

More than a passive phase

Partnerships to help in the quest for passive measurement of consumer habits on and offline have grown exponentially. This is being furthered by the proliferation of the Internet of Things, adding to the data resource available that can be tapped into.

Innovation such as the launch of Apple’s ResearchKit – which will aid the medical research world with data to advance medical studies and medicines – is a great example of how partnerships will emerge to further the potential of IoT.

All of this innovation is making niche audiences more accessible, particularly where access is low but there is an increase in demand. Working in partnership is helping to open up audiences and gain access to people in broader social classification bands and incomes. The significant changes in the MR arena in Japan over the past few years is testament to this; collaboration is paving the way for access to good quality panels, specifically in the South East Asia region, where access has previously been a huge challenge.

Globally, the US is leading the partnership trend, but there are other markets deserving a shout out for their part in this innovation. Areas such as Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, and Asia are now leading in certain areas of market innovation.

This situation will continue to evolve as barriers fall between technology companies and those building business off the back of smart algorithms

Unilever’s CMO Marc Matthieu made some important points in an interview recently with regard to data science. Discussing the evolution of ‘people data’ over big data, Matthieu suggests that the marketing landscape will begin to change in the coming year. I think he could be right.