Anticipating future trends and industry developments is knowledge that is key to the growth of any business, and market research companies are no exception. Therefore it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of those at the forefront of research for some of the world’s biggest brands.
When asked how they saw market research developing in the near future, Arleen Macaraeg-Denque and Esteban Socorro, research directors at Motorola and Coca-Cola respectively, had the following to say:
Arleen Macaraeg-Denque: "Demands are increasing. For the last ten years I’ve been hearing that we should be more consultancy-oriented. We’re expected to have a strong influence on critical business decisions. We have realigned our role within Motorola, but we are always faced with headcount constraints and the skill-sets are not always there. This industry was very much built on a scientific base – focus on sampling, statistics, questionnaire design – that’s all good but market researchers are expected to do more; consultancy is not for everyone. How to build the next generation of consulting market researchers is therefore one of the biggest challenges."
Esteban Socorro: "The industry will split in two: traditional research, and what I call the visionaries. Traditional research will keep on working as it does now; improving tools and methodologies, very process- and data-oriented. The need for this type of service will remain, but the cost and the margins will continue to decline due to the limited added value they bring to the table, and technological improvements that will reduce the cost of data collection. In that sense the concentration of the industry is inevitable and we will see less but bigger suppliers in this sector. The visionaries will be the ones that help their clients to build vision and strategy, based on a holistic and deep comprehension of the world and the people, as well as the company history and internal politics. The business model for this sector will and should be different to market research, perhaps closer to consultancy. It will probably have higher margins, lower costs, and be more diverse."
The above originally appeared in the October 2007 edition of Research World