[GRIT COMMENTARY] Most Innovative Suppliers – a Glimpse Into a Collaborative Future?
2017 Q1-Q2 GRIT Report commentary by Terry Lawlor, EVP, Product Management at Confirmit, sharing his thoughts on the current state of the market research industry.
The Market Research industry – or as it is increasingly being referred to, the insight industry – has had a tough few years. There are plenty of reasons for this situation, some more valid than others, but there is, I believe, broad agreement that innovation is core to moving forward and reinventing the world of Market Research.
Innovation, of course, takes many forms. Whether we’re talking about the automation of redundant or administrative activities to simplify the research process, or leveraging new techniques and data science approaches to deliver deeper insight, a drive towards innovation is key to the future of our industry. Which brings us to the GRIT report.
What I think is most striking about the list of the 50 most innovative research suppliers in the latest GRIT report is the sheer range of companies represented there. It’s not just traditional research agencies. But neither is it all young, nimble, boutique agencies who are rolling out new methodologies quickly. In fact, it’s a fascinating mix of large and small agencies, large and small technology providers, consultants and social media behemoths.
This begs the question – what is Market Research these days?
20 years ago, in fact, probably 10 years ago, few would have predicted Facebook and Google listed alongside GfK and Research Now in a list of MR suppliers. So how did we get here?
In all honesty, I think we had to come to this point. We know that Market Research has to change and disruptions like those we’re seeing now is how this change takes place. Users of research – or insight if you prefer – need to help their companies to connect with customers and potential customers in order to succeed. Over the long evolution of the MR industry, we’ve reached a stage where no one provider, whether a technology vendor or a full-service agency, can deliver everything that a client needs to do that. So a combination of approaches and partners is required.
Market Researchers are intermediaries, so how do we add value to
businesses who are trying to get closer than ever to their customers?
Collaboration is a term that’s been thrown around for a long time now, but we’re only just reaching a stage where it’s becoming a reality. And that’s what is driving the list generated by the GRIT report’s respondents. MR businesses, particularly those who are focused on becoming strategic business partners, can combine traditional techniques with modern data collection, social media analytics, and emerging technologies by partnering with best-in-class providers to deliver new depths of insight. In doing so, they are fostering greater collaboration between producer and consumer that will lead to products and services that better meet emerging market needs.
The move away from traditional Market Research and towards a truly collaborative “Insight Industry” much more accurately reflects the role that researchers will play in the decades ahead. The insight researchers will put clients back in control, bringing them closer to their customers, closer to the nuances of their business, and giving them more targeted information for decision making. This list of 50 innovative suppliers gives us a glimpse, not of single companies who will achieve this, but of a set of potential partners whose offerings will be combined by savvy firms looking to lead that future.