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[GRIT COMMENTARY] Three Lessons from Client Research Innovators

2017 Q1-Q2 GRIT Report commentary by Mark Simon, Managing Director at Toluna North America, sharing his thoughts on the current state of the market research industry.

As always, there is much to learn from innovative researchers. Whether research methods are used to drive differentiation in mature industries or totally disrupt dynamic markets, it is clear that companies are using research to seek out the new, avoid repeating the past, and seize the initiative in playing offense, rather than defense, in a market.

Agile Research Strategies

Agile research strategies leverage new techniques and technologies to make market knowledge more accessible, accurate and affordable. They enable brands to engage with specifically targeted consumers in real time through their digital vehicle of choice. Agile research is helping companies gain in-the-moment insights and quickly optimize a variety of concepts. It is helping research innovators ensure the voice of the customer is in everything they do.

One common theme among innovators is their use of agile research practices that bring together data from a variety of sources. This approach allows them to push into new research methods that dig deeper into consumers; in areas that include emotions and non-rational explanations of behavior.


Research done right can influence decisions at every level of the business. Whether it is a major product launch in a new market or the placement of a purchase button on the website, data can give executives confidence that their initiatives will succeed. Automated research allows marketers to more easily test new concepts. It also enables them to speed up the decision-making process and expand the number of decisions that are evidence based, helping to fuel growth at the business.

Research innovators are leveraging automation to obtain competitive advantage by tapping into consumer sentiment, and coupling available information in nearly real-time. The readiness of the data means that the decision-makers at these companies no longer have to spend a great deal of time waiting on insight to make its way through various channels before it reaches them. This is where the messages can often become distorted whereas with automation, this issue is avoided.

Innovators are the ones pushing the frontiers of automation. In the past, automation was mostly operational; it involved scripting the surveys and collecting the data. Today, it extends to research methodology automation to incorporate accepted methodologies into digital platforms. 

Quick Turn Insights

Another approach that separates innovators from the rest of the research pack is their ability to achieve quick-turn insights, which make it easier for them to react to findings. This can be especially valuable in managing complex consumer studies.

To gain quick-turn insights, brands are automating their processes with solutions that create questionnaire and programming templates which allow for faster study design and launch. This method can cut survey launch time from days to hours, which can be critical for brands that need feedback faster than possible from traditional techniques.

Innovation leaders are also tapping data visualization and analytics so that they can more easily glean insights and react to findings while a study is still in field. This shortens the pathway between a brand’s problem and finding the solution, meaning companies can create and execute campaigns when they matter the most, at the right time and to the right audience. 

Key Learning from Innovators

Looking at the lessons from the most innovative companies shows market research is a vibrant discipline with new and better ways constantly emerging to gain and leverage customer intelligence and insight. That’s a lesson all companies can benefit from learning.

This content was originally published by Toluna . Visit their website at

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