This year’s Festival of NewMR ended on a Futuring note with a panel discussion on the evolution of the MR world, lead by Ray Poynter and Lenny Murphy.

Futuring Friday guests Research Now EVP Melanie Courtright, Growth Strategist Kristin Luck, ESOMAR Director General Finn Raben and ZappiStore CEO Steve Phillips came together to discuss the next market research developments for the next year and beyond, taking a moment to identify industry opportunities and threats along the way.

Main market research trends to look out for in 2016, as those emerged from the panel, are:


Follow the leader (that is, the consumer)

Melanie Courtright kicked off the session by touching upon new ways of engaging consumers in today’s mobile age with shorter adoption cycles. Emerging themes here are the principles of speed and ease, which offer great potential to increase respondent engagement leading to higher value data.


Value of MR

Bringing the example of the German MR industry with its annual Research Day, Finn Raben stressed the importance of contributing to research and communicating the value of data collection and analysis.



The notion of agile does not necessarily mean fast, rather it implies a test and learn approach to research, with projects following a Build-Measure-Learn cycle. The emphasis falls on small, iterative projects during the development stage of ads or products, as opposed to a single, final-stage round of evaluation. While this agile mindset is not a new one to the research world, technology has by far been the biggest enabler in implementing agile practices, allowing researchers to turn around projects quicker than ever before.



Leveraging automation technology is what ultimately makes it possible to adopt an agile, lean approach to research. Steve predicts this is set to have profound effects on the way agencies engage with clients, with fewer people thinking about process and more ‘high-end thinking’ and analysing the value of data and what that can do for the client’s decision-making.



Kristin Luck introduced the topic of survey simplification, which builds up on the principles of lean, speed and ease and is seen as a powerful way to build respondent engagement. Tech can again be an important aid in the simplification process, offering opportunities to connect with consumers in more interactive and more impactful ways.


Design thinking

While this was something previously lacking from the MR industry, there is a decisive shift towards greater focus on UX and survey design, both in terms of optimizing for mobile technologies as well as simplifying survey layout, tying back to the previous point.



Dominant trends continue to be programmatic advertising and big data. It is necessary to note the limitations still in place, with a need for further data modelling and behavioural data only becoming available post-launch. “Big data can only predict the past,” after all.


For those who missed Futuring Friday, a recorded version of the session is available here.



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