Photos courtesy of Pixabay
By Crispin Beale, CEO, Insight250
St. Patrick’s Day, which takes place annually on March 17, takes place on the supposed day of Saint Patrick and has been celebrated since around the ninth century. Records show that the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland, the nation of which he’s the patron saint, but rather in America, in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida.
With St. Patrick’s Day comes all sorts of symbols and traditions, one of the most famous of which is the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So, in the spirit of finding this pot of gold, I thought it would be an interesting and informative topic to ask market research and insights experts from around the world - what do you think will be the largest driver of revenue growth for market research in the foreseeable future? Here’s what they said:
Sir Martin Sorrell, Senior Monk, Founder & Executive Chairman, S4 Capital plc, UK
David Berry, Managing Director, Kantar, Ireland
“Given the current costs pressures impacting all sectors of the economy, it is even more important for insights to deliver a clear return on client investment. Businesses cannot afford to make the wrong decision, and those agencies that really go the extra mile to understand their client and the issues they face will be best equipped to thrive.”
Shirley Ng, International Research Principal, General Motors, China
“Combining quantitative charts (datasets) with verbatims support in a report. Talking of a pot of gold, I have a wish. I cannot think of anything better if some tool that can help me write a fast report for rollout. With today’s technology in AI, can I wish for a quick chart output (we have that already) along with verbatim support to address a page and its specific subject title? Charts made, verbatim included in text boxes, but let “my human brain” do the rest of the thinking (historical events, creative writing, story building, etc. AI’s factual outputs can save me a lot of time in data mining, and I do appreciate that. Among AI’s many outputs, I can pick and choose which charts and datasets I wish to include in the report (which already exist currently). Still, qualitative verbatim extract along with those data sets would be the “color” that I need to make a point clear. If a clever Leprechaun out there has this combination of delivery ability, please contact me and let me catch you! Happy St. Pat’s Day!”
Zoe Ruffels, Global Head, VP Consumer & Business Insights & Analytics, Mars Pet Care, UK
“Whilst on the surface it seems obvious, it is all too often the case that insights don’t impact business growth. As such, the treasure is in our ability to do this as research professionals. Most businesses these days have a growth flywheel of some description – a model that is repeatable and proven to drive growth consistently. Focus is needed to ensure that every piece of research we do is in service of this and that the insights we derive directly support the growth flywheel and therefore drive business growth, whether that be in building brands, driving innovation, or creating mutual value with customers.”
Richard Colwell, CEO, RED C Research, Ireland
“I think revenue growth in market research will come from two key areas. Continued improvements in automation and AI will drive further use of research by companies to test ideas and understand markets before they launch or introduce new products and services. While at the other end of the value chain, I believe market researchers will further improve their credentials in the board room, using research and human understanding to underpin and drive strategic company growth plans through a more profitable consultancy role.”
Justine Clements, Consumer Insights Manager - MX, Samsung Electronics, Australia
“I’d expect research companies to develop more platforms to curate data for businesses, providing real-time insights. A strategic focus will help to embed these into businesses, creating agile, relevant insights at scale. In turn, this will help businesses to stay ahead of the competition by utilizing data-driven insights to make better decisions more quickly. Done well, these will become an essential part of research delivery and a new ongoing revenue stream for the industry.”
Dr. Nick Baker, Global Chief Research Officer, Savanta, UK
“Remember you 'make your own luck', business growth will always be about taking opportunities, application, and effort. For our sector, the same applies. We have to be experts in emergent spaces where we can really make a difference, and there is nothing more significant than the new communications channel that is Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. 2.5 billion messages a day on Roblox alone already, but do you know what's happening in the Metaverse?”
Ben Page, CEO, Ipsos, France
“Because market research covers the whole global economy, both public and private, ultimately it will be overall GDP growth, but the ongoing digitisation of the economy, which is only 40% complete, is constantly expanding opportunities for researchers everywhere. At the same time, of course, it presents the ongoing threat of disintermediation which the industry has faced for the last twenty years, successfully overall – but only the paranoid survive.”
Sharmila Das, Chairwoman, Purple Audacity, India
“The Booker prize awardee Arundhati Roy had called the pandemic a portal, and the analogy turned out to be true for market research. The industry has emerged stronger, and the rapid adaptation of the new reality has started forging the path toward the pot of gold. However, the journey has started. Continuing the practice of fusion and innovation resulting in sharp actionability is not only proving to be useful to the clients. this exciting approach to work is also attracting talent to the industry. This infusion of new energy and talent will eventually prove to be the rainbow that turns the table to a brighter angle for market research."
Ray Poynter, Chief Research Officer, Platform One; Founder & Chair NewMR, UK
“For the foreseeable future, the biggest growth will be in ResTech, with more platforms, easier to use, and integrating more qual. The largest growth will be in tactical research, quick, fast, actionable, and inexpensive.”
Caroline Frankum, Global Chief Executive Officer, Profiles Division, Kantar, UK
“In today’s increasingly time-poor, digital world, where the intensifying fight for eyeballs and data privacy legislation go head-to-head with an increasing prevalence of ‘fake news’ and online fraud, sourcing trusted data has never been more important to ensuring the machine-learning algorithms and AI, that our market research industry is increasingly adopting, deliver meaningfully relevant and actionable insights to clients. This is why our No. 1 priority at Kantar Profiles is ensuring our Profiles Audience Network of 169m panelists in 100+ markets who compliantly share their time and data with us are actually real people, who are who they say they are.”
Urpi Torrado, CEO Datum Internacional, Peru
“As more businesses recognize the value of data insights in decision-making to ensure growth, demand on qualitative analysis (to understand reasons, motivations, and behaviors) and data integration (combining multiple datasets to identify correlations and patterns that might not be found in one data source alone) will increase. Therefore, the revenue growth will come from combining human skills with tech-enabled methodologies, it is not the data, it is about what we can do with it to foresee the future.”
Alex Hunt, CEO, Behaviorally, US
“Leading a business, you write down a growth strategy intended to produce the proverbial pot of gold. For Behaviorally, 2 years ago, that growth strategy was to launch a new brand via purely digital channels (we couldn’t visit customers on-site and in-person conferences remained suspended), then globalize that brand rapidly via digital techniques (not only because they were superior but to ride the COVID-era adoption wave). It was the first time in my career that the plan articulated at the beginning of a growth chapter stayed fully intact once it hit the rough and tumble of the real world.
“So, to avoid tempting fate, reluctant to say with 100% certainty that Behaviorally’s current strategy – to apply our unparalleled behavioral data assets to drive positive client outcomes at the point of transaction – will lead us to the proverbial pot of gold. But we do believe it’ll be important! The one thing can though say with 100% certainty is that it was the fantastic and talented Behaviorally team that delivered our growth strategy over the last chapter. No matter what growth strategy finds the pot of gold in the coming years, it’ll be the talent working together to execute it day-to-day, product-to-product, client-to-client, that’ll be the most crucial driver.”
Jean-Marc Léger, Président, Leger, Canada
“To drive growth, all you have to do is "follow the money.” A recent Fortune article stated that the AI market is actually $387 billion and will reach $1.394 billion in 2029. AI will not only boost the economy but reinvent it, including the research industry. AI will bring market researchers new opportunities but also new challenges. Some of us will succeed, while others will fail. Your job is to be on the right side of history.
“P.S. This quote was not written by CHAT GPT ;).”
Debrah Harding, Managing Director at MRS, UK
“The global economic outlook remains unstable, at least for the foreseeable future. The businesses best placed to face up to this challenge and drive revenue growth will be those which harness technology in a way that not only provides faster research but also drives better quality of data and insights. That comes down to automating processes or aspects of research, which can then free up people’s time to focus on generating insights that will have a real commercial impact.”
Kingsley Wheaton, Chief Growth Officer, BAT, UK
“Insights and foresight are essentially a means to an end, and that end is “ideas.” By looking over the horizon and understanding the consumer and customer of the future, we can more profoundly develop products and services that meet emerging and new-to-world needs. As ‘insight tools of the future’ develop, invariably powered by technology and data, we can improve the speed and likely veracity of our understanding of that future. Linking those insights and intuition together will underpin the creation of ideas and solutions that both drive new growth and increase the value generated from ongoing growth.”
Dr. Roland Abold, infratest dimap, Germany
“The future revenue growth in Market and Social Research is highly correlated to the impact growth of our services and solutions. The more our insights and recommendations are effectively included in corporate or political decision-making (both strategic and tactical), the better are our chances to generate sustainable growth for the whole industry.”
Jane Frost, CEO, MRS, UK
“Over the past year, I’ve been very encouraged to see greater, more sophisticated integration of complementary data sets to paint a better, broader picture of different issues. That development needs to continue if our sector is to deliver revenue growth – tying together qualitative and quantitative research to create truly representative, valuable insights. Getting these integrations right will be critical for our sector to cement its place in the boardroom and support commercial decision-making.”
Finn Raben, Founder, Amplifi, Ireland
“Quite simply, collaboration. No one company has all the resources or all the answers to solve every question or challenge that a client may have...but collectively, we do. Partnerships and promoting the breadth of knowledge, skills, and expertise that our sector encompasses are good for all of us; becoming a trusted partner means recognising your strengths and weaknesses and having the confidence to advocate for other experts. Clients will place far greater value on an effective collaboration that produces holistic solutions than they will on one company that tries to sell a proprietary and purportedly all-encompassing solution.”
Wim Hamaekers - Founder, One Inch Whale, Belgium
“There is an explosion going on in AI and machine learning, heralding a new era that will disruptively change the research & insights world (again). Especially after we get over the peak of inflated expectations, AI & data platforms will definitely generate revenue, in my opinion. Besides, it is always more about how you use these platforms and what you do with them. It’s the human factor that makes the difference between being relevant or not, impactful or not. Technological solutions & AI will drive growth but will also put the insights industry in the role it deserves: curating the overload of insights and ensuring impact for businesses rather than a provider of business insights.”
Joaquim Bretcha, Statutory Director General ESOMAR, Amsterdam/Spain
"Credibility based on the good understanding of valuable data and evidence".
So, as you can see, there are many thoughts on how market research and insights can attain that elusive ‘pot of gold’ that sits just over the horizon in the form of increased revenue over the coming year. So, best of luck in finding those efficient and effective ways to drive innovation and success for your business.
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.