The market research industry has overcome a dramatic change in recent years and experts predict a real boom in demand for consumer insight starting in 2020. To cope with the increasing expectations, the market research industry should be ready to tackle the top challenges it is facing right now.
The research companies that will be able to respond to these challenges are sure to play the first fiddle and dictate new trends to the industry in the years to come.
Challenges Facing Market Research
All the challenges facing market research can be generalized to the three leading themes:
- Technology: The industry needs to acquire and train employees in modern technology, as well as address the associated security and reliability concerns
- Data management: Now, when vast amounts of data are collected from multiple sources, new challenges arise as to how to consolidate and manage the acquired knowledge
- Consulting: Having access to a million pieces of the puzzle, it becomes more and more difficult for market research agencies to paint a larger picture and give clear recommendations on how businesses should act upon the research data
Let’s discuss the top challenges in more detail.
The Use of Technology
There is much confusion about the need to integrate Big Data into market research. Since the notion is trendy, research agencies acquire a competitive advantage offering to use big data for research. On the other hand, there are no cases proving it can provide better insights or help answer business questions. For many researchers, Big data technology causes more confusion than clarity.
Another trend the industry needs to adapt to is the rise of mobile technologies. The fast pace of the world dictates the use of dynamic methods for data collection and real-time access to research information. Some market research platforms are already offering relevant features.
For example, one modern mystery shopping app uses GPS data to track the performance of mystery shoppers and allows live video/audio recordings during fieldwork. However, researchers still need time and training to learn to use mobile technologies for maximum effectiveness.
Use of Social Media for Market Research
Another point of confusion in the use of social media for market research. This is another technology affecting the industry and pushing researchers towards a brand new research methodology. The problem is, the acquired data is often clunky, messy and difficult to interpret. The latter is due to the lack of trained staff and the need to quantify qualitative social media data.
On top of that, clients are still skeptical of social media, so the research reports generated on the basis of the social media analysis risk being ignored.
Check this video to learn more about conducting market research through social media and review sites.
Difficulty in Gaining Data
Government regulations about privacy, GDPR in particular, make it more challenging for market research companies to collect personal data and ensure its security. The emphasis on the security of personal data and the spread of cybercrime has made consumers more suspicious too. As a result, they become not willing to share their details, thoughts, and behaviors with interviewers.
What’s more, as some businesses are willing to invest in market research and industry growth, consumers become bombarded with too many surveys and questionnaires and are more careless when passing them even if they do.
This leads to poor sampling and incomplete and unreliable responses. Thus, engaging customers in research is becoming a great challenge the industry needs to tackle.
Answering the “So What?” Question
According to the GRIT Report, most businesses assume that research agencies fail to provide actionable insights. Two different factors seem to be responsible for the fact.
First, clients fail to articulate their needs and ask clear questions that researchers should answer. Or, on the contrary, they limit the research asking the researchers only to validate the current strategy and eventually accept only those recommendations that presuppose minimal changes.
Second, even with the use of advanced market research software, researchers find it difficult to keep up with the pace of market change. Thus, quality research reports turn out to be outdated and timely reports that can still be used for taking strategic decisions lack in scope or quality.
Living in the Age of Instant Experts
Another challenge New Market Research notes is the diminishing value of science and scientific research. Now, the gut instinct of leaders and the views of self-proclaimed experts is taken as equally valid to those of market research professionals. As a result, market research reports should be not only valid but also presented in an entertaining and convincing way.
This trend promoted the emphasis on storytelling as one of the top skills modern research experts should have, which is yet another challenge for the industry to face.
If you are ready to stand up to the challenges facing market research, focus on:
- Agility of research
- Use of the latest market research tools
- Data security measures
- Training of the staff in technological solutions and generating compelling insights
Although the industry of insights faces lots of challenges, the interest in the field is growing too, and it is worth investing time and resources in taking them up.