A significant number of changes have happened to the market research industry over the last few years. These include increased automation and digitisation of surveys, commoditisation of traditional research methods, and further consolidation of research providers and more and more professional services companies entering into the research consultancy space. We have also seen an increase in the number of enterprise organisations investing in their own in-house research capabilities.
So, are these trends set to continue in 2016? In this blog post I take a look at what’s in store for the industry over the next 12 months and the steps market research companies will need to take to out-do the competition and be successful.
Big data is here to stay, and if anything will get even bigger in 2016. At B2B International we have seen an increase in projects requiring the mining of data to simulate market scenarios, without the need to ask any questions of customers. The data held in many company CRM systems if often an untapped goldmine, but only if the data is accurate, up-to-date and can be utilised to its full potential.
Similarly, we have also noticed a greater demand among clients for combining different research streams to form a bigger picture, such as combining internal data with employee engagement research and customer NPS data. This is a trend we see continuing in 2016 and beyond.
As well as making full use of internal data, there is also more external data at our fingertips than ever before. This can be collected through government statistics, customer surveys and nowadays social media. The big challenge with accumulating masses of data is how to understand what it all means and what to do with it. To be able to see the bigger picture and the story that unfolds from it, the data needs to be understood in a business context. Otherwise, it becomes a data dump which runs the risk of incorrect conclusions being made off the back of suspect correlations (as shown in the graphic above with swimming pool drownings and the release of Nicolas Cage films).
Actionable insights are crucial when delivering market research findings to clients as it’s these insights which will inform business decision making. The increase of DIY software tools such as Survey Monkey, which offer firms the opportunity to collect and analyse their own data, is all well and good but it still takes an expert who understands the complexities of finding trends to deliver actionable insights. This has led to many new entrants to the business intelligence market to help companies make sense of the data (this is why we launched B2B Advisory).
The world of research and analytics has never been more exciting. The market is changing all the time and research companies need to embrace this and evolve. What will remain central to the industry for 2016 and many years after that is the need for companies to extract insights from their data to make informed, intelligent business decisions.