[GRIT COMMENTARY] "Me Wants the Data"
2015 Q1-Q2 GRIT Report commentary by Melanie Courtright, EVP, Global Client Services for Research Now, sharing her thoughts on the current state of the market research industry.
Corporate decision makers are hungry for data. And like the cookie monster, they want consumable data. Data they can use to fuel decisions—multi-million and billion dollar decisions about their brand, products, marketing, and pricing. And decisions that affect their revenue, profit margins, and investments. Each year those decisions get more complicated and require better data. As we look ahead at what the next few years will bring to researchers, the most succinct answer is better access to deeper, more integrated data that will enable informed decision-making across a wider set of questions.
The GRIT Report highlights these trends in the findings. The first trend observed is around revenue predictions. GRIT asked buyers to predict their research spend and sellers to predict their revenue. More than two-thirds of sellers are expecting higher revenue while only one-third of buyers are expecting project level spending to increase. One of the potential reasons for this difference is that buyers are spreading their research dollars across a wider range of project types, and are investing in different types of data. An example of this is seen from a participant who stated that, “Research isn’t just one thing anymore – it’s data coming from a lot of sources that are often organic.”
Less questions, more answers
A second trend that was observed involves shorter (or nonexistent) surveys. Surveys are evolving, allowing for less questions and more answers. Researchers are taking seriously the challenge to “Observe More… Ask Less” and to retain data they have asked previously so they don’t need to ask it again. Imagine a traditional twenty-minute survey reduced to seven or ten minutes by relying on previous answers to known demographics, appending attitudinal and profile data, integrating purchase data from the client, attaching passive data about geographic and search behaviors, and only asking the “Why” behind their choices?
This blending of demographic, attitudinal, profile, purchase, passive and survey data is often referred to as “integrated data” and is seen as the highest form of data for insights. Many have stated that budget and investment dollars are beginning to shift to this vision across the industry. Investments are being made to support the data platforms, the analytic automation, the visualization requirements, and the new talent needs.
Integrated data requires a very different operational model. And GRIT participants recognize that fact. The third trend reflects this need for more technology, and the importance of automated analytics. Sensors, meters, and wearables have the potential to further reduce screen sizes and shorten questions and surveys, but increase our ability to watch and observe.
Survival of the data savvy
Our success as an industry and as individual companies to enable integrated data is predicated on our ability to engage research participants and gain their trust (permission) as we collect data. Once we have those types of relationships, it’s about our ability to bring data together and create a transformational data set that can be analyzed, visualized, and interpreted quickly and accurately. That’s no small feat. But the winners over the next five years will be the companies that succeed in this area. As one participant put it, “Data overload and automation will push the boundaries ...to much more sophisticated analysis and interpretation levels... Few players and professionals will survive.”
As you think about where you want your company to be five years from now, keep in mind that Marketing Officers have an insatiable appetite for data. Consumable data. Accessible data. Data that fuels great decisions. Companies that survive will be the ones that engage research participants in meaningful, relevant and permission-based ways… and use those relationships to deliver fast, accurate, and predictive data to marketing officers who are starving for it.