IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON MARKET RESEARCH
NOTE: We are delighted to have Prerit write this guest blog on behalf of Y2S Consulting. He has gained recognition within the market research community for his insights on how to create new tools and capabilities that help us understand the consumer better. He's won significant awards including 2018 Movers and Shakers Award by PR News & Social Media Today.
A few months ago, Yogesh and I were discussing on the future of market research and I said that given the present state of traditional players , industry could shrink to 60% of its current market size in coming 7-8 years to which Yogesh said that I was too optimistic. One of the most significant factors for his belief was the role played by technology in the future of market research, and this is what he asked me to blog on. So, here’s my take on it.
I see technology impacting market research primarily in two ways. As shown in the visual below, one being the impact on way traditional market research is done and another being the research itself being influenced by the technological advances. Let’s start with the easiest.
Traditional methods but Quicker: Automation of market research processes and use of technology to ease research processes have been going on for some time, but the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) & Data Science has accelerated this process. Some companies can survey in less than 6 hours with outputs available in a dashboard immediately and do focus groups via mobile phones even before traditional research players get their recruitment specifications prepared. Lately even the very complicated traditional analytical methods like conjoint analysis can be done in less than 3 days which otherwise took no less than 10days.
Traditional methods but Cheaper: Apart from quicker delivery, reduction in price to do research is a USP (Unique Selling Point) for new technology-enabled companies; something which traditional research providers have been too slow to implement and is affecting their profits negatively. Generally speaking, a lot of these changes, are coming from companies born outside of traditional research to which either traditional research companies do catchup to or sometimes try to buy them out. But given the new developments which have shown vulnerabilities of big players, I assume that upcoming new startups might prefer to chart their own journey rather than be tucked with the big vanishing players.
Old problems but New ways to answer: Now let’s look at the other side. Above write-up was about the companies who are still doing market research using traditional methods (like survey, focus groups, etc.) but the people whom they are researching on and the society they live in has changed tremendously. Today technology has touched almost every part of our lives; with technology comes more data and with data comes insights. Today, one can learn a lot about consumers simply by analysis of social media feeds (text and images) or TV usage data (behavioral data) or telecom movement data (geospatial data) and similar. These datasets don’t always give complete insights but by complementing these datasets with other datasets, need for traditional research can often be cut down by more than 70%. Hence, this is where a new crop of companies is coming into.
Some of the players that are coming in this new technology-enabled world are not research companies but are service providers who are trying to monetize their data assets by adding an element of insights to it. On the other side are Ad Tech and Mar Tech companies who are closer to this area of marketing and hence research is a natural extension for them. But often the problem with these players is that they have a very good view of the consumer from one dimension, but that may not be enough to get a complete picture. And hence there are newcomers who are trying to piece up all these sources together. Some of these insight integrators have taken a product approach with an idea to provide a SAAS (Software as a Service) while some have taken an ad hoc consulting route. It’sa nascent area but is the dawn of a very new era of marketing insight which will be a driving force for coming 10-20 years.
About Preriit Souda
Preriit (@preriit2131) is a Director at PSA Consultants (www.psaconsultants.co) based in London, UK. Preriit’s principal focus is to help organizations answer difficult strategic questions by unraveling explicit and implicit human expression through mining social media & digital data. His work has helped develop new products and track brand reputation u