By Crispin Beale, CEO Insight250
With constant debate and discourse around advancements on the technology and methodology fronts, I thought it would be fitting to hear from experts worldwide on their industry affections this Valentine’s Day.
So, I posed a simple question to these leaders and innovators; whether it's a technology innovation, methodology advancement, priority shift, industry enhancement, or something else, what would you most love to see happen with market research in 2023?
And they certainly “shared the love”, this is a bumper article with inspiring and fun views from leaders and innovators from all around the globe. Here are the affections they hope to see this coming year.
Sir Martin Sorrell, Senior Monk, Founder & Executive Chairman, S4 Capital plc, UK
“Apart from a nice birthday present, I’d like automated media planning and buying. We’re approaching the point where an algorithmic approach could revolutionize the media planning and buying industry and yield significant efficiencies in choosing appropriate media. This would also eliminate “frictions” in the system that so frustrated clients, provide transparency, and provide more meaningful ROI data.”
Niels Schillewaert, Managing Partner and co-founder, InSites Consulting, Belgium
"Focus on connecting brands with people, cultures, and futures to drive positive change. Technology innovation, method advancement, and automation efficiencies will not elevate our profession. We need to “do what matters.” The starting point is to uncover “what matters” by providing a holistic human perspective that is enabled by combining methods, data, and technologies. Equally important is to help brands act upon that and turn insights into “doing.” Only then will insights at large drive positive progress, change, decision-making, and transformation."
Ben Page, CEO of IPSOS, France
"I would LOVE us to do more to highlight the impact the industry has - the inventions and innovations driven directly by research, the changes in government policies that research has driven."
Mark Langsfeld, CEO of mTab and Chair of Insight250, US
"There is so much incredible research and data out there, but it tends to be fragmented and scattered across sources, making it challenging to find and stay updated. I would love to see this expertise united into a single source that delivers easier, more economical access to researchers. I am so passionate about this that our team at mTab has just launched mTab Marketplace, which pulls together market research reports and datasets from leaders like Kantar, Ipsos, JD Power, Barnes, Deloitte, Accenture, and so many others."
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / Bru-nO
Vanessa Oshima, Founder, HEART-DATA Inc., Japan
“Collaboration not Competition. For the industry to embrace all the new players appearing and look to collaborate on projects. It’s not qualitative vs. quantitative; it is BOTH. It is not futurism versus past data analytics/extrapolation. It is BOTH. It is not agency A vs. agency B; it is a collective collaborative team, not marketing vs. sales. Not quality vs. budget/time…well, you get the picture.”
Dr. Nick Baker, Chief Research Officer, Savanta, UK
“Moving aside the desire not to be bombarded with the 'buy buy buy' messaging, which is the norm around event dates (no pun intended!) like Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, or Christmas, I'd love to see more diversity, more genuine sustainable operating (like organisations going for B-Corp certification), more inclusivity and really valuing the wonderfulness of diversity in our organisations, and with all this more impact commercially and operationally from the work the insights industry does.”
Seyi Adeoye, CEO, Pierrine Consulting, Nigeria / Kenya
“In 2023, I look forward to the rise of more specialist market research firms. Basically, more market research companies are evolving to specialize in business sectors or in particular methodologies/approaches, thus dialing up the level of deep-seated expertise that will henceforth be available to clients.
“Recent revenue contribution market trend shows specialist market research to have up-ticked their contribution to the $118+ billion insight market over the last 3 years. The growth of technology-enabled market research platforms is also a contributory factor to this observed phenomenon.
“Clients are increasingly demanding ‘NOW WHAT’ type of recommendations, they are looking for partners who can help them with ‘WHAT IF’ scenarios as the competitive landscape is not getting any easier to navigate. This push from clients is another key factor creating opportunity for the continued rise of specialist market research firms.”
Kristin Luck, ESOMAR President, Founder, WiRE, US
“I’d love for our industry to find more balance between “tech-phobic” and “tech-enthusiast.” I spent the first 15 years of my career driving early adoption of tech for research (online, mobile, virtual reality, eye-tracking, etc.), and now I’m spending the most recent years helping folks sort through what is tech hype (anyone remember Google Glass?) vs. truly disruptive technology. There is huge pressure on firms in our sector to be innovative.
“This pressure manifests in the decisions of executive teams who feel they must be seen to be doing something to make their organizations innovative. But, too often, this leads to an innovation facade — the appearance of innovation without changing anything that matters. The tricky thing is that an innovation facade can be indistinguishable from valuable innovation; over time, it won’t produce the intended effects of innovation — fundamentally changing the ways things work. When you’re presented with “the next big thing,” whether it’s the metaverse, ChatGPT or any other tech flooding into this sector, try to separate fact from fiction. Consult the experts (those using the tech as a practitioner) and ask yourself, “Why is this technology being promoted, and what vested interests do my suppliers have in it?” By doing so, you have a better chance of exploiting emerging solutions rather than being exploited by them.”
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / stux
Jane Frost, CEO, Market Research Society, UK
“Selfishly, I’d wish magically to be two dress sizes smaller without giving up the Laurent Perrier. Seriously, more respect from men towards women would make everywhere in the world better – Afghanistan, Iran, and the police in London, as well as product design would be all the better for it…and I would be much less angry every time I turn on the TV.“
Priscilla McKinney, CEO & Momma Bird, Little Bird Marketing, US
“I would love to see more meaningful collaboration events happening in our industry. I think we get there by asking more open-ended questions about what people think, what they need, and what they dream about. I never know what kind of inspiration can strike when I let go of your agenda.”
Justine Clements, Consumer Insights Manager, Samsung Electronics, Australia
“This year, I’d love to see more AI-driven research approaches that leverage qualitative interpretation to deliver genuine insights about the cultural context. Also, I’m looking forward to greater speed and automation, at least for all the boring bits, leaving more time to apply insights to improve the customer experience. And as we strive for greater inclusion as a society, we need to develop more flexible ways to conduct research to ensure greater sample diversity so that a representative population is genuinely representative.”
Alex Hunt, CEO, Behaviorally, US
“I’d love for insights to fulfill its potential; to do that, we’ve got to contribute meaningfully and confidently to growth. It shouldn’t be a challenge for any supplier or corporate function to leverage and support a combination of behavioral data, technology, and smart people! But too often, we in the insights industry are not sufficiently confident in recognizing our own potential to contribute.”
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / Engin_Akyurt
Mariela Mociulsky, CEO, Trendsity, Argentina
“Given the technological advances and the changes that are occurring, I would like an increase in curiosity and creativity regarding the adequate and successful incorporation of new technologies to happen. Such as Open IA, ChatGPT, and DALLE.2.
“It is an AI that can reason and give cohesive and precise answers. Moreover, DALLE can convert any text into an image, which also transforms the creativity of experts and advertisers. These technologies change the concepts of creation, data research, customer service, and content creation, impacting the research industries and people's expectations. Without a doubt, we must follow these issues to integrate tools that help us evolve in our jobs and our value contribution.
“Apart from following evolution possibilities, we must consider the ethical issues they represent. Technological advances don´t stop, and although we can incorporate them, humans regulate ethics.”
Jean-Marc Léger, Président / PDG, Leader Nord-américain ESOMAR, Canada
“The release of CHAT GPT version 3, and soon 4, changes how we think, work, and live. I experienced the arrival of computers, which made it possible to better organize information; the Internet, which made it possible to interconnect information, social media, which made it possible to share information and now artificial intelligence, which makes it possible to deepen the information. Each of these disruptive inventions has led to exceptional business opportunities. It is up to all of us to take advantage of it. Let's use artificial intelligence to increase real marketing intelligence!”
Nikki Lavoie, EVP Global Experience Strategy, Savanta & VP, ESOMAR, France
“What I’d love most from the insights industry would be our collective, enthusiastic adoption of Holistic Insights!
“As purveyors of truths that allow for decisions to be made that shape the brands, products, and services of our world, we must acknowledge the need—which is becoming increasingly clear—for a holistic understanding of humanity. This means a combination of triangulation of data (UX + CX + EX) and exploration of the impact of our work on the planet at large.
“Let’s accelerate a shift from customer-centered to human-centered to humanity-centered and enable our work to see the big picture and be a force for good.”
Matt Hay, Founder & CEO, Bulbshare, UK
"Recent weeks have seen a lot of talk about the potential of generative AI to radically change the shape of market research. Clearly, it represents an opportunity to enhance both the speed and capability of what we do. Still, there are some more nuanced applications of the technology that I'd like to see researchers exploring this year. For instance, can AI be used to challenge biases held by those designing questionnaires or carrying out studies? And, while we know that machine learning enables us to ask more questions in less time and crunch vast reams of data to make meaning, can it be used to help us get to the right questions?
“On top of this, I'd welcome a shift in the relationship between researchers and respondents. A faceless, unknowable hoard of people will give you less viable information than a trusted, passionate community that deals with in a less transactional way. We've seen movements towards this step change across the past 12 months, but maybe 2023 is the year when things really move on."
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / TaneTati
Alejandro Garnica, Insight250 Judge, Mexico
“Two cancers are destroying all contemporary societies nowadays: post-truth and inequality. These are not new phenomena, but they have taken on enormous strength recently, especially during the pandemic and beyond. Therefore, I would like to see market research directly confront these two evils at the national, regional, and global levels. How? I am thinking of at least three main actions.
“The first is to document and exhibit the phenomenon: what are its dimensions? How much do citizens perceive them in general, and how do they think it affects them? This is more of a matter of public opinion research, but it goes further because it affects all consumer markets.
“Second, the industry could contribute by disseminating that information. Generate agreements with the media to establish constant monitoring programs. That they will not be treated merely as news topics that are paid attention to one day and forgotten the next. In the same way, joint work with digital platforms would allow giving global reach to the investigations about the extension of social lies and social inequality.
“Third, market research could actively expose false truths circulating in its sphere of action. It is not admissible to let pass up invented information about habits and preferences of brands and products. Today more than ever, we must all defend the value of truth and recover consensus on it. Otherwise, we are doomed to separate increasingly and eventually disappear.”
Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer, Boots, UK
“I’m really excited about the amazing advancements in marketing research over recent years. It truly feels like the most exciting time to be a marketer, so this is a time to show real love to the sector! And for Valentine's Day, I’d love the industry to keep advancing and improving ways for me to connect with customers and learn and act faster in the dynamic market in which we operate.”
Joaquim Bretcha, International Director, Past President, ESOMAR, Spain
“The bloom of ChatGPT has opened our eyes to a new technology revolution, the large-scale Language Models (LMs). Let's not create another "marketing bubble" (Metaverse, Crypto) and work seriously on how to effectively take advantage of it while keeping our standards of conduct and ethics at their highest level.”
Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision, US
"I would love to see the success of a natural, powerful data collection system throughout the industry that prioritizes Substance Research over Sexy Research. The substance is about research results based on truth and simplicity and provides directed action. You know where you stand and where you need to go, and you have the tools to create the product and communication for success. Sexy is about the research process, which contains important buzzwords, incredible visualization, utilizes social media, and includes video productions. The client believes the results are interesting because of the seductive research process. We love it when Substance wins."
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / NoName_13
Lucy Davison, Founder, Keen as Mustard, UK
“How does emailing a PowerPoint report loaded with charts feel as an opening gambit for a date? Not very considerate right? Not to mention it’s unlikely to get the response you hope for. Love is a two-way street but I am always struck by how people in insights make stakeholders work so hard. We expect them to do all the running, figure out what is going on from lots of data, we present options but we refuse say what we think is the right choice - and then leave it up to them to make big decisions. So, this Valentine’s Day I’d ask people in insights to apply a bit of what they know about love to their communications. Be a good date – be attentive to your stakeholders, entertain them, give them some insights (not boring observations), give an opinion, and help them walk in the shoes of your customers.”
Alain Mizrahi, Director, Grupo Radar, Uruguay
"When clients hire a multi-country study from their usual research provider, what very often happens is a reverse auction for the fieldwork. Local suppliers receive the same request from several companies asking for quotations and seeking only for the lowest price. The result is very low quality data and of course low quality information. For Valentine's Day I would ask for more attention from the end clients on who did the field work in each country. I would also ask for putting an end to the practice of pretending to apply exactly the same methodology and the same questionnaire in all countries without taking into account the particularities of each market.”
Debrah Harding, Managing Director, Market Research Society, UK
“I would love to see us expand our understanding of national representation and the benefits of using fully inclusive samples. From recent research undertaken by MRS, we know that having a fully representative sample doesn’t increase the cost or complexity of projects. Still, it does produce insights that would otherwise be lost.
“With businesses and consumers facing real economic challenges, now more than ever, we should be doing all we can to truly understand the nuanced experiences of different groups of people. It’s not just about the usual age, geography, sex – we need to make sure we’re also getting a representative view across demographics that are often overlooked like neurodiversity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.“
Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer, North America E2E Research, Canada
“I adore the chocolate box filled with DIY and AI tools to help non-researchers conduct better quality research. This year, I propose that researchers embrace their sweet gift of being expert advisors to those non-researchers. Recognize that your true love is in caring about the why behind the who, what, when, where, and how. AI might be able to improve questionnaire design and reporting for non-researchers, but it still doesn’t have the emotions to advise on niche and outlier situations.”
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / Yalanite
Danny Russell, Owner, Danny Russell Consulting Limited, UK
“For 2023, I would love to see market research take a more prominent role in the toolbox that marketers have at their disposal. Given that we are in uncharted and often confusing territory for brands, surely our stakeholders should be banging on the door of market research to help them. But what we see, almost continuously, is market research budgets being cut (IPA Bellwether Report), so where is the disconnect?”
Finn Raben, Founder, Amplifi Consulting, Netherlands
“I would like our sector to evangelise open, informed social debate in 2023. We learn and
progress so much faster when we have evidence-based discussions comprising all views –
even unpopular ones.
“The increase in the use of unsubstantiated information, fake news and propaganda seem
inexorable…unilateralism (it’s my way or the highway) and populism (divisive politics and
government) are self-serving and require a “winner” and thus a “loser.”
“Research/Insights/Intelligence has always lain at the heart of securing corroborated
information, on which informed debate can then take place; let us promote that value of
our sector this year, above all else. I think it was Chris Martin (CMO FlexMR) who recently commented: “it would be a wholly good thing to put society back at the top of our collective list of global priorities, replacing the economy which seems to have somehow crept up there.”
Paul Baines, Professor of Political Marketing & Deputy Dean, University Leicester, UK
“I would like to see all businesses recognise the importance of undertaking market research before making strategic decisions and spending more on it accordingly. Post-COVID, as market conditions change, I think this is imperative. If necessary, the extra spent on market research can be taken from the comms budget. What’s the point in shouting at people if you are not being heard because it’s not the right message?”
James Turner, Founder & President, Delineate, UK
“In 2023, I want researchers to finally fall in love with real-time technology! This is a year of opportunity for agencies and clients willing to think differently and take advantage of the enormous progress being made by ResTech firms and the wider open-source community. With that in mind, here’s an unedited love poem about real-time data generated by open.ai’s GPT3.”
Real-time, my love, you are my heart's desire
With your data streams, my passions you inspire
With every update, my love for you grows
In your constant flow, my heart forever glows
Your real-time insights, so fresh and so true
With you, my love, my research feels brand new
No more guessing, no more waiting for the past
With you, my love, my research is built to last
You show me the present, in all of its glory
With you, my love, I tell a different story
You give me real-time answers, to questions I seek
With you, my love, my research is truly unique
Real-time, my love, you are my heart's delight
With you, my love, my research takes flight
With every beat, my love for you deepens
With you, my love, my research truly steepens
Forever and always, my love for you will stay
In real-time data streams, my heart will sway
With every update, my love for you will grow
Real-time, my love, forever aglow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Crispin Beale is a marketing, data and customer experience expert. Crispin spent over a decade on the Executive Management Board of Chime Communications as Group CEO of leading brands such as Opinion Leader, Brand Democracy, Facts International and Watermelon. Prior to this Crispin held senior marketing and insight roles at BT, Royal Mail Group and Dixons. Crispin originally qualified as a chartered accountant and moved into management consultancy with Coopers & Lybrand (PwC). Crispin has been a Board Director (and Chairman) of the MRS for c15 years and UK ESOMAR Representative for c10 years. As well as being CEO of Insight250, Crispin is currently Group President of Behaviorally with responsibility for the client and commercial teams globally and the Senior Strategic Advisor at mTab.