Post-recession, a new world order for MR

Seems everybody is making their predictions about 2010 and Market Research, so I thought I’d add some of my own.  Despite many forecasts of turmoil and revolution in the industry,  I actually think that on a worldwide basis we will see a short-term burst of fairly conventional research (old-style surveys, FGD’s etc.).

Is The Writing on The Wall For Market Research?
(c) 2009, A. Gordon.

There is simply a lot of catch-up to be done, and much information that needs up-dating. However, as  mentioned in an earlier post, this bump in conventional activity is likely to mask some fundamental threats to research firms who see the upturn as a return to “business as usual”. So for what it is worth, here is what I think will be the “big 3” trends over the next year or two:

  1. New industry structures and refocus on thriving Asia. Not simply consolidation, but completely new types of owners. Many mid-level companies in developed markets may falter – survival is likely to be determined by flexibility in adapting products and ability to expand outside the home base. Simultaneously, lesser known Asian companies will grow rapidly based on the support of local, cash-rich, clients.
  2. Rise of “triangulation” – we will start to see exciting combinations of methodologies/analytic approaches creating better insights.  This in turn drives intelligent software and demand for researchers possessing either in-depth expertise, or a wide appreciation of diverse methods (e.g. panel + qualitative).  No middle ground.
  3. MR Cost focus now on executive productivity as severe talent shortages grip research. This is driven by cut-backs in the recession, emerging markets growth, and demand for new skill sets, ‘Fast-Tracking’ staff and enhancing productivity becomes increasingly paramount.  Most MR companies have got their back-office operation lean already – now comes the harder (but ultimately more important) work to relook at total research processes and the “human elements”.

So, as you (I hope) get busier in the next year with all the catch-up business that comes in, don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day of pushing projects out the door that you overlook some of the significant changes in the air!

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2 Responses to Post-recession, a new world order for MR

  1. Interesting points, Alastair. I believe outsourcing of research ( at least the data collection part) will also grow. So will, the ranks of contract MR workers.

    I will post my first blog shortly – possibly on CPG mega trends.

    Keep sharing!

    Cheers,
    Correlationist

    • Alastair Gordon says:

      Thanks Prince, I agree that there will contunue to be a rise in basic (data-entry, DP, charting etc.) out-sourcing in 2010, but eventually two things will happen.

      (a) There will be a realisation that except for the more “syndicated” firms this is not where the majority of MR costs lie and that anyway the big issues with processing costs often tie back to poor research design or client managment anyway.
      (b) Gradually the boundary between “in” and “out” in market research firms will fade as they become more virtual, more “2nd level” firms expand gerographically and new ways of hiring and using resource emerge (e.g contractors as you mention).

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