Technological developments, shifting economic power, population change, environmental pressures and evolving consumer values underpin disruptions in the market research industry. Market researchers are more pressed than ever to deliver accurate, insightful solutions for clients with shorter turnaround times and smaller budgets.
The future of the market research industry is full of challenges and opportunities. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable faster analytics and report creation. To be successful, researchers should embrace new technologies available for streamlining and automating data collection and analysis, freeing time for higher-level problem solving and storytelling. However, new technology means mastering new tools and developing skillsets outside of the traditional researcher’s background.
Researchers who rise from being considered a provider to a true partner will explore the right methodologies and solutions. This approach, however, is easier said than done. Faster delivery times can mean trading reports and tables for shorter, to-the-point visuals. Reliance on “big data” often means working with huge amounts of consumer information that now needs to be handled transparently.
Market researchers are increasingly asked to be accurate yet fast, tech-savvy yet methodologically pure, robust in detail yet able to quickly and succinctly deliver visual insights. Long-term success in market research will be striking the right balance across each of these items, while remaining nimble enough to drift toward one end of the spectrum or the other depending on immediate client needs.
Though challenges and change lay ahead, there will always be a need for smart, flexible market researchers who teach and empower their clients. While technology and automation may be encroaching on the market researcher’s territory, people are needed to uncover key insights, implications and context. The best insights teams of the future will combine tech experts with client problem-solvers to provide bold, story-led, consultative solutions.