It’s crystal ball time again. What will 2017 mean for market research? Some predictions seem to get trotted out year after year, like “Expect greater demand for actionable insights” or “Increased automation and more technology-based solutions will become the norm”. These are important deliverables and solutions, but demand for them isn’t cyclical, and never really goes away. We decided to focus on the predictions for 2017 that point toward real changes happening in our industry.
- Increase in market research spending resulting from uncertainty in the geopolitical landscape. Multiple sources agree 2017 could see a boon in market research spending as businesses seek certainty in uncertain times.
- Transformation of in-house research from service to strategy. This trend is a natural outgrowth of increased anxiety, as in-house researchers are taking a seat at the strategy table to bring customer insights into the business decision process.
- Increased reliance on automation and AI will drive use of qualitative methods including human filtering which is simply people using qualitative methods to filter the signal from the noise. Big data will become more aligned with qualitative methods to provide much needed context.
- Real-time, iterative insights gleaned from social media and other engagement platforms will provide an ongoing dialogue with consumers. This won’t replace the “one-off” research project, but it will usher in a new, more longitudinal role for market research.
- Increased use of observational methods (including implicit measuring). Taking the long view, purely observational methods have come in and out of fashion, so we’ll keep an eye out to see if this one plays out. Does anyone remember the terrific work Paco Underhill did in the science of shopping during the 1990’s? His studies brought us the delightful innovation of soft sweaters folded in neat stacks at the entrance of stores like Banana Republic, which made for easy “petting” by sensualist consumers.
If you have questions about any of these trends and how they might impact your business, contact us. We can help you identify the methods that will work best for you in the months and years ahead.