Market research is the best source of consumer insight and guiding change, but doing it right and with rigor has traditionally translated into a six figure budget  and multiple weeks of time , largely driven by manual process that deliver little to no value to the end business output.

With increased accessibility of information from multiple data sources, marketing teams have been bestowed with an ability to completely adjust campaign spend in just a couple of clicks, and the insights industry must adapt to ensure that it is as agile and can continue to add value.

That’s why I find it inspiring to see over two-thirds of respondents in the latest GRIT report cite automation as a positive trend and a game changer for the market research industry , with automation already having disrupted and created efficiencies in multiple industries from home entertainment to travel agencies and now, personal transportation .

By leveraging credible methodologies from research agencies, the automation of low-value tasks in research such as; sampling, survey configuration, data analysis and reporting has enabled clients to commission great research in a matter of hours and at a much lower cost.

However, for providers of research, the change means they are now able to scale their methodologies and provide insights earlier, more often, and most importantly, to more people.

Ultimately, this newfound accessibility allows more companies to rediscover the true value of research by testing each aspect of development among their target demographic earlier and more often, from the conceptualization and evaluation of ideas to pack testing and optimization before going to market.

With this pre-testing approach to decision making, a lot of risk can be mitigated from the path to successful product launches . A recent McKinsey study of 300 employees from 28 companies highlighted the businesses with the best product development track kept in close contact with customers throughout the development process .

They found that over 80% of the top performers said they periodically tested and validated customer preferences during the development process, compared with just 43 percent of bottom performers. They were also twice as likely as the laggards to research what, exactly, customers wanted. That made them better able to identify and fix design concerns early on, minimizing project delays.

This iterative approach to product development becomes far more economically feasible with automated market research, delivering insights at a pace close to being on demand, as clients have become accustomed to from other data sources.

What’s more exciting for researchers, beyond an empowering ability to say yes to more research, is that automation becomes a tool to augment and go hand in hand with their expertise in storytelling and has the potential to transform researchers into the hero of affecting change at board level .

The result is an increasing demand for their skills and shift in their roles to bigger picture thinking and strategic consulting for and with their business, while still being able to do robust quantitative research to validate and measure the impact on business decisions.

This moment in our industry excites me to see more and more people embrace technology  and use it to enable them to do more, as we’ve seen countless times throughout history. Businesses are crying out for a single source of truth to create action and it’s looking more likely than ever to be found in tomorrow’s insights consultant.

Stephen Phillips

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Stephen Phillips

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