The #FutureOfMRX is in Fusing the Great Divide – Part 1 of 3

As week 1 of 2013 is underway, let’s look toward the future and where the marketing research industry is heading… Most of us are familiar with the recent influx of new technologies, methodologies and theories – many of which are discussed on the Next Gen Market Research blog. Most of us are also familiar with and have recently ridden quite the economic roller coaster.

What’s next? Over the next 3 weeks, we’re diving into 3 points of focus Ben Smithee recently hit on in the December issue of MRIA’s VUE Magazine. These are our thoughts on key points we think researchers should be aware of and understand, so please read through and let us know your thoughts when you can! Future | Past | Present

While unfortunately we have no crystal ball, we definitely have some thoughts… :) There will probably be a culminating shift where the energy of the past few years of stretching, branching and exploring the new and uncharted is now focused on aggregating these efforts and skills into comprehensive solutions and approaches. Basically, as researchers continue to gain a more diverse understanding of the consumer, we will start to see things realign under a more holistic approach.

We are by no means suggesting the industry will stop growing or we will stop expanding our vision and exploring new opportunities and technologies, but we ARE suggesting that the focus of the next few years will be on bringing together all that we have learned into powerful, hybrid approaches.

As we look forward to 2013 and subsequent years, let’s walk through a few key points of focus that researchers should both understand and digest: (1) understanding through observation, (2) multi-faceted mobility, and (3) evolving media.

1) Understanding through Observation

As technology grows and researchers are equipped with more and more tools to observe behavior in real time, we will continue to see growth in the areas of research that focus on observational insights. In-depth discussions, focus groups, and other Q&A-based methods will likely still exist, but they will be utilized as supplementary methods to dig deeper into understanding the why behind observed actions.

These traditional in-person methods will also be leveraged in special niche arenas where observational techniques fall short – for example, in sensitive health-care topics, personal hygiene, and other areas where observing consumers directly will substantially bias the results. Traditional methods will also still play a heavy role in the world of advertising and messaging, as group feedback and discussion still offer tremendous value.

While many would now insert Henry Ford’s objection that ‘people would have asked for faster horses,’ we refuse to believe a keen researcher would have presented the results as ‘build a faster horse,’ and wouldn’t have dug deeper into the true consumer need state – but that’s a whole different discussion.

In our opinion, the most valuable learnings are those that come from a point of observing behaviors and then, through dialogue, uncovering the underlying thoughts and emotive contexts behind those behaviors.

Therefore, in our opinion, a researcher without some form of observational prowess (in either the physical or digital environment) will be severely limited in the future.

Do you agree? Are we missing anything? We welcome your comments, as we’re all in this together and looking forward to a successful 2013!

Thanks for reading, and come back next week for key point #2!

– The SPYCH Team

Week 2  –  1/11/13  –  Multi-faceted Mobility

Week 3  –  1/18/13  –  Evolving Media