In a bit of a collaborative experiment, at the behest of Tom Anderson (who moderates the wonderful Next Gen Market Research community), a number of market research bloggers are all posting today about the five trends they see as important to Market Research over the next few years, and the ones that will wane in importance. The goal here is to see, of course, what we all come up with and where we all agree and where we differ. I’m honored to have been asked to be a part of this little adventure, so without further ado, here are my Top 5 (and Bottom 5) trends for Market Research:
1. Out-Of-Home Research will be increasingly aided by smartphones and other mobile devices, providing a location-based overlay and unique identifier to other, more traditional elements of OOH research. Not a replacement, mind you, but a richer substrate of data.
2. Social Media Research will continue to gain traction, but the data miners are going to have to start providing a little insight to go along with their conclusions in order to show value.
3. DIY research will continue to be popular – market researchers can either put up resistance, or roll with the change and be the gatekeepers of information about using DIY tools wisely and well.
4. Ethics and best practices for mining unstructured “public” data will be paramount for credible research providers. CASRO and other organizations will provide leadership, and it’s up to the industry to police itself or someone will police it for us.
5. Market Research departments will have to think more and more like marketers – we are drowning in data. What makes this data special or actionable?
Bottom Five (the not-so-hot):
1. Crappy associations-are-not-correlations-are-certainly-not-causality studies derived from data mining. We are inundated with “conclusions” drawn from data dredging large data sets, but many of these models just don’t hold up to common sense.
2. Researching online “influencers” is going to wane as we figure out what factors are really relevant to online (and offline) actions.
3. Slides. I still use too many myself. Storytelling is the new PowerPoint.
4. Complaining about representative samples. There aren’t any. There are only probabilities, understanding limitations, proper reporting and mitigating risk. It’s the secret sauce that makes us all valuable.
5. Long, unpaid surveys. Who answers these?
That’s my 5+5 – what are yours?