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Alliance of International Market Research Institutes: A Pie Grows in Manhattan

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At last week’s AIMRI conference in NYC, I had the opportunity to meet market researchers from around the world: Czech Republic, England, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and more. A small but dedicated group of …

At last week’s AIMRI conference in NYC, I had the opportunity to meet market researchers from around the world: Czech Republic, England, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and more. A small but dedicated group of researchers met to share current insights on market research trends, and to constructively discuss our industry’s future.

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  • 1. Alliance of International Market Research Institutes: A Pie Grows in ManhattanAt last week’s AIMRI conference in NYC, I had the opportunity to meet market researchersfrom around the world: Czech Republic, England, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and more. A small butdedicated group of researchers met to share current insights on market research trends, and toconstructively discuss our industry’s future.With contributions to the conversations by John Mackay (who, among other roles, is the founderof The Research Club), Lenny Murphy, Ruth Stanat and others, some of the presentations—anddiscussion—repeatedly pointed to an underlying question:Is the volume of “traditional” survey work declining, or is it simply that the volume of othermethods is growing faster? In other words, the market research pie is growing, and surveyshave a smaller slice of a larger pie?Personally, I don’t see any evidence that the volume of surveys is declining—if anything it isincreasing. But I also see plenty of evidence that as a percent of the total, surveys are declining.Evidence was abundant at AIMRI as well. Consider the presentation by Marshall Toplansky ofWiseWindow, who shared a case study example of using a combination of social media researchand ethnography as a Phase 1 to a quantitative Phase 2. This is consistent with many cases I seein client-side organizations; market research surveys are still being done, but are increasinglyaugmented by other methods.As further evidence, consider that three of the ten presentations were specifically about panelbased research. Panels (at least for now) are largely focused on data collection for onlinesurveys.And finally, lest there be any last doubt that surveys are still being done in volume, consider this:by my last count, there are now over 50 companies offering online survey platforms. Okay, thisisn’t a fact specific to the AIMRI conference, but if survey volume was shrinking, I don’t thinkwe would be seeing such a surge in new software platform entries.Surveys are here. Vast volumes are done every day. But as other options grow in volume, marketresearch agencies simply have to ask themselves: what does the term “full service agency”really mean in today’s context? 1
  • 2. Author Bio:For more expert tips on market research subscribe to Research Rockstars free newsletterat http://www.researchrockstar.com.Have a market research question? Kathryn Korostoff is president of Research Rockstar, acompany that delivers online and in-person training to busy professionals seeking marketresearch excellence. Kathryn is a market research professional with a special interest in howorganizations acquire, manage, and apply market research. Over the past 20 years, she haspersonally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100bylined articles in trade magazines. http://twitter.com/ResearchRocks 2