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The economic downturn and several global trends are re-shaping the market research business. Based on IMD’s and Dynamics Global trends study and Trendwatching, here are just a few that make a difference for applied marketing research:
Social everything technologies are part of consumers’ daily lives and they shift their mindset to “made with me”. Over 2/3 consumers are willing to collaborate with brands. They value experiences and things they can share as much as possessions.
Consumers want “flawsome” brands and services. The ones that care, go the extra mile and evolve … even with a little flaw from time to time.
Dealerchic relates to consumers having a sense of mastery when finding that best price, price-quality or even luxury deal in whatever they do. It is a new sense of accomplishment.
“Distributed everything”. Not only production but also value creation becomes broadly distributed. As researchers we need to ask ourselves what in our process delivery cannot be distributed (not what can) and focus on those.
We want professional participants as technology allows amateur consumers to deliver content up to professional standards.
Information is still power, but accessing and sharing it is “powerful”. Knowledge provides advantages but it now remains more and more with consumers. The challenge is to get control and access with increasing mobility and democratization of everything.
The ever rising screen culture impacts the type and format of touch points people can be reached with.
And with all of this brands and marketers are forced to deliver better, faster and stronger results while the reality is that many executives are still operating in silos and one shot market research operations. Research needs to influence management decision making, but even more basically just stimulate their thinking and inspire them. If we are completely honest, a lot of the research that is commissioned by clients does not have the necessary impact and there remains unused potential. We overly focus on data, analysis or technicalities, reliability, representativity, etc. Sure these are important, but they often lead to numbers that are exactly wrong rather than approximately right (to quote J. Tukey). Research as we have been doing it for decades has commoditised – clients search for ‘more and cheaper’, not true transformation or added value. In short, market research is in a state of ‘limbo’. If we do not act and change the way we run our profession, we will be held up and not much progress can be made.
We are missing out on the huge opportunity that consumers are amongst the best consultants a company can hire.
We will show how consumer consulting boards (aka online research communities) can help and generate impact at three levels by means of a variety of case illustrations.
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