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Top 5 Market Research Predictions for 2020

Top 5 Market Research Predictions for 2020

This is the time of year when everybody seems to be making predictions. Within the realm of market research, I’ve seen quite a few articles forecasting methodologies and the impact of data privacy. From my own experience, here are five trends or changes the industry will experience in 2020.

1. Outcome- and strategy-first methodologies will be embraced.
In the coming year, business outcomes from research and insight will become even more important to drive results and profit from the data gathered. Success will be achieved through the increased integration of people, data, and technology. The combination of different data sources should enable businesses to move from insight-driven to result-driven, enabling the insight team to be one of the most important functions. For this to work in 2020, we need curious individuals who can answer the “why” question, working hand in hand with best-practice technology solutions.

2. DIY research will come into its own.
With so many start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, there seems to be even more use cases for “do it yourself” research. Companies like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Zappi offer a DIY research format, allowing individuals to create their own research program without needing to discuss anything with an actual person or agency. For 2020 to be the year for DIY research, though, there must be more go-to-guides and information to help individuals conduct market research by themselves.

3. Unlocking privacy compliance will be key.
Yes, this one is probably on every prediction list over the last few years, but there’s a reason for it. Data privacy continues to be a big deal, and we are just beginning to feel the impact of the various global legislative initiatives that relate to this topic. As I like to say: “The bigger the company, the bigger the threat.”

At the moment, there seems to be no standard way of working with privacy-related requirements—different businesses are seeking different solutions for the variety of compliance issues. In 2020, I firmly believe we will see standard protocols emerge that will lead us to a less-fragmented market (and less-fragmented privacy rules, in general). However, the real value will be seen by organizations that look for ways to address compliance needs while also unlocking new potential value for data stakeholders.

4. Data science will overtake insights.
Market research has historically focused on data collection, and analysis has typically been simple. This applies to qualitative as well. In some ways, however, the market research industry was ahead of its time—the ability of decision-makers to use data to guide their decisions has lagged the capacity to collect it.

Now that the data industry is much larger, you could argue that market research is being absorbed into data science. There are huge amounts of programmers and software developers in our industry—while many are adept at selling, they know little about marketing or research. (To be fair, they usually do not refer to themselves as “marketing researchers.”)

For market research to be the golden industry, we have to go beyond mechanical data collection, simple analysis, and interpretation. Instead, we must work closely with AI, machine learning, and data scientists. However, I still feel that a market researcher with sound experience will still have an amazing career in the industry. Those able to design primary quantitative research who have a good grasp of statistics—as well as marketing and business in general—will be at an advantage, as will top-notch qualitative researchers.

5. We will reach peak innovation.
Innovation is a word I hear a lot, but it can sometime feel like people are only saying it because it’s a great marketing buzz term that makes you sound amazing and at the top of your game. The desire for market research agencies and boutiques to pump out faster and more reactive products has never been so strong. In 2020, I feel like we may well reach peak innovation, but the technology that is available today will continue to get better. This means new tools will be able to deliver timely insights that provide business results and outcome-first approaches to market research and data.

Conclusion
Overall, I feel that outcome-first methodologies will come out on top while the inclusion of DIY research will become prominent in the sector, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Better yet, I feel like the industry hasn’t reached its summit. While it might have peaked in terms of innovation, it can still grow and improve with respect to the value it adds.

While January is a time for predictions, it’s also a time for resolutions. There are many people who still don’t see the value of market research, so I challenge you to set a goal for this year—go and change one person’s opinion of this important sector. If all those reading this can do that, our field will be off to a great 2020. Have a great year!

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About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400  

Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

The Importance of a Blended Methodology

Everyone thinks you need a certain personality to be a market researcher, but you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes for a successful career in this field. Of course, some skill in observation and investigation—and a keen interest in people—can certainly go a long way.

Many people can get a bit lost when it comes to choosing which research methodology to use between qualitative and quantitative strategies. In some cases, blending the two can be a good approach. However, it’s important to know when and how this works in the real world.

While blended research is neither new nor extraordinary, it is often overlooked when designing a research study because clients are requiring cost-effective research conducted 24/7. However, one of the appeals of a blended methodology is that it can help triangulate our measurement strategy, using different measures of the same concept to provide a more robust overall sense of understanding.

But what if the results are not consistent?

One of the major challenges for using a blended methodology is the different types of expertise required. Most social researchers can manage adding some qualitative questions to a primarily quantitative survey, or can collect some quantitative indicators in a qualitative project and then analyze the results. That said, given the time and training required to develop advanced expertise in ethnography, in-depth interviewing, survey research, statistical analysis, or any advanced method, most researchers are going to specialize.

different researchers

This means developing a strong blended methodology often demands collaboration of different researchers with different types of expertise. It requires more time and more attention to project design and management than may be necessary in a single-method project. Researchers with different methodological commitments may also have different research philosophies—potentially making collaboration more challenging.

Overall, it doesn’t actually matter if you choose quantitative or qualitative research or a blend of the two. The most important questions to answer are why are you conducting market research and what would you like to understand? Then, you can create a research study that answers your questions while putting the audience at the heart of it all.

It’s important to mention that whichever methodology you pick, blended or not, good research needs excellent recruitment. Being successful means never forgetting that the respondents you recruit are people first and participants second.

Depending on your methodology and techniques, you should go and visit the respondent in person. You will see where and how they live and observe their environment and habits, while getting to know them better. Even more importantly, the respondent meets you, too. This builds trust and respect for each other and your research—two items even more important than being Sherlock Holmes.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400  Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

Multicultural Research: Top 3 Things You Should Know

Multicultural Research: Top 3 Things You Should Know

According to a 2017 American Community Survey, one in seven US residents are foreign born. In Canada, that number is even higher. At the time of the 2011 National Household Survey, 1 in 5 Canadians were born outside Canada. This large influx of new US and Canadian citizens represents a prime marketing and sales opportunity for North American brands looking to grow their market share in an established and at times crowded market.

The increased importance of brand visibility and awareness amongst newcomers has turned multicultural marketing into somewhat of an arms race. Brands now seek out new advertising and marketing channels that provide high levels of exposure to newly landed or soon to arrive immigrants. Airports, Visa offices, and even partnerships with brands abroad are all opportunities that have been pursued in recent years to varying levels of success.

Brands are now understanding the importance of being first to market, and that making an impression with newly landed immigrants can have a noticeable impact on market share. However, what’s being lost in the mix is messaging and value.  Does the message of your advertising correlate with newcomers’ values and belief systems? Is the messaging relatable and does it speak culturally to those viewing the ad?

In order to create a great marketing campaign, you need the insights to support it.  That’s why multicultural research has become more important than ever.  Here are 3 things to consider when designing and executing your research campaign.
Aerial view of supported hands out together

Consider your sample makeup.

We tend to think of newcomers holistically, but every immigrant has a story, a different path to North America and background with his or her own set of beliefs and cultural shopping behaviours.  That’s why it’s important that your sample set is as representative of the newcomer population as possible.  Things to consider include tenure and acculturation levels, country of origin and regional segmentations within country.  The closer you mirror your sample to representation, the more accurate your results.

multicultural
Think about regional and cultural biases

Each country is unique and even within country there are regional and cultural biases.  The opinions and cultural beliefs of someone from the North of India is different than someone from the south, and someone who speaks Mandarin from mainland China will have vastly differently shopping behaviours than a Cantonese speaker from Hong Kong or Macau.  It’s important to take this into account when designing your questionnaire, ensuring that you provide different language options for those taking part in the study and that you’re tailoring parts of your questionnaire to speak to respondents on a regional basis.

Traditional Roles are Localized

In North America, we tend to view traditional gender roles as a thing of the past.  It’s now common place for both heads of the household to have full time jobs and to help around the house.  Although we view this to be true in North America, the same can’t be said for some other countries around the world.  It’s important to give consideration to who your intended purchaser is and how the roles of ultimate purchaser and decision maker vary from region to region.  For example, in most cases traditionally the man of the house has been the breadwinner for South Asian households, but the female is the ultimate decision maker for food prep and purchase.

A well thought out questionnaire and sample plan will go a long way in ensuring your study is as representative as possible, and that you’re gaining meaningful insights into your target audience.  As newcomers to North American continue to grow in size and they become a larger part of our population, we as market researchers need to do a better job of tailoring our studies to their individuality and to think about them more as specific sub segments as opposed to one large conglomerated audience.  Doing this will create opportunities for additional products and services to benefit those who are currently underserved, and in turn will aid brands in growing their market share in a crowded marketplace.

CATI IN 2019: Battling Declining Response Rates

The transition away from telephone interviewing is well underway. Online polls now make up the principal source of data on consumer opinion surveys, with CATI projects largely being relegated to B2B audiences, historic tracking studies and geographic areas that lack online representation.

online polling Although online has now become the preferred methodology for most due to its attractive price point, it still poses a lot of questions in the subjects of quality and representation. The absence of a clear set of standards for online research, in particular online polling, has led to many questions about the reliability of the results that are shared.

Whilst journalists are now more likely to cite online polls as a reliable source of data, it is still unclear in many cases how these polls are fielded, and if the sample composition is entirely dependable.

Of course, traditional live-interviewing telephone polls have been facing their own challenges as of late. As the cost of labor has increased, so too has the average cost per telephone survey, and as consumers turn away from landline phones in favour of cell phones, response rates continue to decline. To further complicate matters, phone response can vary greatly within different demographic groups.

phone survey There is substantial evidence that phone interviewing is inherently less biased than opt-in panels. For one, randomly dialling both landline and cell phones puts you in touch with a consumer that may or may not know about market research and hasn’t voluntarily opted into a research-based panel. Secondly, a phone approach provides access to segments of the population that are traditionally under-represented on online panels including younger males, visible minorities and senior citizens.

As consumers continue the trend of ditching their landline in favour of a cell phone only household, sample and interviewing techniques must keep pace in order to ensure that a CATI methodology remains representative and that response rates remain high.

Here are three things to consider when conducting your CATI project.

 

Cell Phone vs Landline

An RDD (Random digit dialling) approach is effective in some cases, but as households move away from having a landline in their home it’s now more important than ever to ensure cell phone sample is included in your sample mix. Based on the latest data, a 60% land line, 40% cell phone sample split is ideal. This blend will ensure that you’re reaching cell phone only households which tend to skew younger in age.

 

Maximizing Your Success with Targeted Audiences

Does your project contain visible minorities, or perhaps those who are considered to be affluent? You can dial blindly amongst the general population in the hopes that these individuals will fall out naturally. However, chances are that these audiences are more likely to have unlisted numbers which would not be included in general landline dialling. For these groups a targeted sample list approach might be best. Targeted sample lists contain appended demographic data which is sourced from 3rd party consumer lists and databases. This increases your chances of connecting with your desired audience and you can boost your overall target numbers.

 

Making Your Survey Relatable and User Friendly

In addition to targeted sample, it’s also important to consider the overall framework of your project to ensure that you are making it as easy as possible for participants to take part. If you’re dialling visible minorities are you using interviewers that speak the language? Are you dialling from a local number as opposed to a toll free number. Is the survey itself accessible?  The more relatable you make your survey to participants the higher participation and cooperation rates will be.

 

Some people say phone is dying. I prefer to look at is as a metamorphosis.  As consumers habits change, so too must our research practices and approach. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure high quality response rates and by following the 3 steps above you’ll ensure that your phone projects continue to be well rounded and balanced.

 


About Chris Connolly

2018 Color headshot Chris Connolly, Vice President of Research Services at The Logit Group is persistently focused on providing superior value and experience for each client relationship. With over 20 years of industry experience serving in leadership roles for both technical groups and project management teams, he has a proven track record of success.

Top Three Research Lessons From Election Season Polling

With the Canadian Federal Election taking place on October 21st and the US Presidential election slated for 2020, it’s a perfect time for us researchers to reflect upon sampling, declining response rates, margins of error, and questionnaire wording for federal election polling surveys.

Those of you who are not researchers or analysts have probably been wondering, how truly representative are election polls, and can they still lend credibility to predicted election results in a world of declining response rates?

Looking back on previous elections and their results, it’s clear that there are important takeaways and learnings from how election polls are conducted.  These takeaways not only ensure that future election work is as representative as possible, but they also lend themselves to takeaways that can be transposed to other research projects.

ballot choice

  1. Ask the right questions to the right audience.

Political polling highlights the importance of asking the right questions. The wording of both the questions and answers will affect the outcome in different ways. For example, here are some considerations:

  • Should you ask respondents for whom they will most likely vote for when the election takes place? Or who they would vote for if the election was held tomorrow?
    • Should your question use the first names of the candidates, as they will appear on the ballots, and/or should you refer to each candidate’s party affiliation?
    • Who are the intended respondents? (All registered voters? All adults of voting age? Anyone intending to vote? Only registered voters who voted in the past election?)

To answer any of these questions, you need to have some clear goals and objectives of why you are conducting the research. There are many types of political polls, and multiple reasons for conducting them. Trying to measure consumer or voter attitudes is different than trying to predict behaviour, which in turn is different from trying to forecast voter turnout.

phone interview

  1. First know the why, then determine which method will get you there.
    Most political polls are subjected to a huge amount of methodological analysis and critique. Was the poll conducted online or by phone? Did the pollster use live interviewers or automated dialing with interactive voice recordings? Was the sample selected through random digit dial (RDD) or targeted listings?

    Questions like these offer insights into the most important methodological challenges facing the research industry in a time of rapid technological and social change. It reminds everyone that the method is so important. The challenges are not just about qualitative versus quantitative or surveys versus focus groups, but also about design, fieldwork, respondent recruitment, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation.

people in rally

  1. Think about the story rather than the numbers.
    Search online for “elections results” and you’ll find a multitude of different polls released on a weekly basis. Most of the results are in alignment with each other, but a handful are notable in their approach because they make the story just as important as the outcomes.

    In those cases, the content is relevant, interest is high, and the stakes are made to feel huge. The story is moving, and it feels like you are one of those individuals they were reporting on. While every poll has the support from PR, marketing, and communication campaigns, it is always nice to see those select few polls that report on things, or from angles, that nobody else has explored yet.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to political polling, the aims and goals are so important that you need to know your approach before you even begin to start thinking about the method and the potential questions. However, once you have your direction, it becomes critical to do more than show the numbers—you must also show the story behind those numbers to make your content relevant and interesting… and to really resonate with your audience.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.