In an environment where there has never been more information readily available to all, consumers and business decision makers alike must have quicker access than ever before to deep research insights.

The way market research is conducted must evolve to stay current and satisfy the changing needs of its users, directly brought about by an increasingly fast-moving digital economy.

The GreenBook 2018 Research Industry Trends Report into the Top 50 Most Innovative Suppliers in Market Research identifies “new methodologies”, “approach” and the “use of technology” as the three key drivers of innovation clients are now looking for from market research providers.

Confronting change

Research providers need to embrace the digital changes in the economy and use them to not only their own advantage, but to the advantage of clients. With so many digital tools now available to allow research to be conducted faster and more competitively, market research consultancies must break down the resistance to change that still exists for many clients, via education and reassurance of what new digital research approaches can bring to the table.

Regardless of sector, clients typically share similar challenges. Budgets and timelines are tight, productivity expectations are high, and insight to inform decisions is required quickly. These needs continue to demand that research companies are agile and flexible in response to their clients’ needs.

Research in 2018 requires new methodologies to find the sweet-spot of decision making. However, whilst the delivery needs to offer speed and agility, the findings still need to provide enough depth of insight to allow clients to make the right decisions with confidence.

A more agile research approach

The need for faster solutions to businesses’ research questions challenges the more traditional research approaches.

The key focus of an approach that is more responsive to the market is driven by speed. At CoreData, our motto is “velox edo tardis” – a Latin phrase meaning ‘the fast eat the slow’.

But a focus on speed can’t come without changes to the research deliverables. Among our client base we’ve witnessed a shift in expectations, and an increasing desire for more concise reports that directly respond to their specific objectives.

The research approach must be flexible to allow for both planned and unplanned challenges, and this demands project management efficiency which in turns allows this faster approach to be more successfully managed.

Research must be competitive and offer affordable solutions to save businesses both time and money. Additional value is provided when we’re able to work to tight timeframes and budgets, without losing quality.

How digital technology can help

Adopting a digitally based approach allows consultancies like CoreData to utilise a methodology and technical toolkit to the best advantage of the client. But when do you stick with the traditional research methods and when can you confidently take a leap of faith with some of the new digital approaches on the market?

Traditional approaches, such as in-person focus groups, segmentation, volumetrics, and norms testing, have and will continue to provide great benefits, but they take longer to conduct, and so require the luxury of time.

A more digital approach can and should be part of the research toolkit of any research consultancy. There are huge advantages for the researcher in embracing the technology available. Online focus groups, bulletin boards, quick turnaround quant studies and online one-to-one in-depth interviews bring concise and direct solutions that not only use technology to create immediate impact, but can provide relevant and in-depth insight within days. This approach is most effective when there are specific objectives that need to be addressed quickly, within a fixed research scope.

Why is change necessary?

It is no surprise that some clients are resistant to change. The efficiency of traditional research approaches has been crafted over time and experience and with it comes a high degree of trust in tried-and-tested methodologies. It is human nature to resist change to things that have been successful for a long time.

Future education is key to the successful uptake of new research approaches. The provision of case studies, white papers and client workshops all contribute greatly to the ability of the client to move forward with adopting new digital research approaches. The onus is on the research consultancy to highlight the advantage of a more agile research approach.  

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