Market Research Trends 2012: Part Two – Consumerization

peopleOn December 14th 2011 the Market Research Trends 2012 webinar featured moderator Ivana Taylor and panelists Lenny Murphy and Romi Mahajan discussing the most prominent trends for market research in 2012.  

Today we bring you the full text of the second part of the webinar, a discussion of consumerization.

Here is a list of all the parts of the webinar with links, to be updated as each section is published:

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor: That actually brings us over to a trend that Romi had first started talking about, so I’m going to give him the first word, is consumerization. Say more about that.

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan: Yes. So consumerization is something I’ve been thinking about for some time when I was at Microsoft and have been writing about it since about 2006, 2007. And really what consumerization is at its heart, it’s what I call the tail wagging the dog. I started writing about it from an IT perspective where it used to be that the enterprise IT department would tell each one of us what technology we were allowed to use. You’ll have to use this type of computer. You’ll have to use this type of phone. You’ll have to have these security settings on it and so on and so forth.

And the rise of devices like iPhones and Windows Phones and Android phones, the rise of social networks, the rise of people wanting to make their own personal and emotional decisions about technology, have actually forced the enterprise It to make changes in the way they approach things. So for instance, if you work at a company that mandates BlackBerrys, let’s say, and suddenly 10,000 of you bring in iPhones, IT’s probably going to make changes. Otherwise some of you will say, look, my freedoms are being encroached upon, I’m going to leave.

So consumerization is about the head and the tail of the comet being inverted and the consumer being in charge. And I think that if we think about that, and we think about the old notion of the hypodermic needle effect where a company says something and the rest of us obey, that’s really the kind of consumerization. It will be super interesting for me to see market research or a market research firm take consumerization as a core plank of what it does and, again, to invert its model and to sell back to corporations what consumers are thinking, instead of the other way around.

Ivana Taylor:  Fascinating. Leonard, what are your thoughts?

Leonard Murphy

Leonard Murphy

Leonard Murphy: I think that Romi’s right. There’s actually a movement now with several companies, and you’re seeing it particularly from the panel companies that are moving away from this idea of doing ad hoc access to consumers and treating it as a commodity, but rather looking at building what is effectively their own databases of consumer preferences and information. They’re doing it through a variety of ways, through running surveys, through mobile apps, all the metadata that’s collected there through integration with social networks, the Facebook APIs, the Twitter APIs and all of the tons and tons of data that you get from that standpoint, and empowering consumers in such a way that they own that data and change the whole value proposition that’s had, where today Google, Facebook, et cetera, et cetera, they own the platform, they own the data, and consumers are just there to– the value exchange is in exchange for the platform they get inundated with advertising, et cetera, et cetera.

This new shift is the idea that the consumers are the base, they’re the core of everything, and they’re making the decisions about who gets access to their information and how it’s being used. And it’s really empowering them to turn that dynamic totally on it’s head and engaging with brands in a very, very different way. The movement around personal data banking is part of that. And I think we’ll see that really grow over the next few years. It would not surprise me if I in the next 5 or 10 years we see Google or Facebook totally have to change their business models from a revenue standpoint and effectively become revenue-generating partners with consumers in order for them to gain access to their data.

And that also addresses a lot of privacy concerns that are out there right now as well. So right now the issue is that nobody likes the idea that these companies come in and get my information and use it without permission. But if all of a sudden that shifted and it’s me choosing how my data is used and who’s using it when, where, and how, it’s not a privacy issue anymore.

Ivana Taylor:  Wow. That’s a fascinating. Is there any thing that we as marketers should be doing to set ourselves up to take advantage of this trend?

Leonard Murphy:  I think we really need to start thinking about the value that we bring to consumers versus how we use them ourselves.

Ivana Taylor:  Very interesting. You know, a trend I’m seeing as our conversation is unrolling, and that I hope that we have time to wrap up for, is how interconnected all these trends are, one connected to the other.

Romi Mahajan:  Absolutely. The one thing I’ve leave our listeners on is a thought experiment, which is we traditionally think of B-to-B and B-to-C marketing. Think about C-to-B, consumer to business.

Ivana Taylor:  Wow.

Romi Mahajan:  Consumer being at the headwaters, and the business being downstream. So good thing we could do another webcast on, but I’d love people to opine about that, whether it’s pings to the blog or questions on this webcast.

Ivana Taylor:  Oh. Love it. Love it. Well, you guys have already talked a little around this. Our next trend that we’re going to talk about is network intelligence.

That’s it for Part Two – Consumerization.  Next up is Part Three – Network Intelligence.  Make sure not to miss it by subscribing to Research Access email updates.


About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.


  1. Capitalism was defined as “mass consumption for mass production at a profit.”

    Unfortunately, the MBA’s have turned Capitalism into “financial manipulation for the profits of the manipulators.” (The Golden Rule is that “those who have the gold make the rules.”)

    They have done this by denying or killing the types of regulations that would have imposed financial responsibility sometimes under the misleading guise of “free enterprise.”

    What is impressive as Consumerism has replace Capitalism is that the overt financial manipulation of the Capitalists have come to “bite them in the butt” as their greed resulted in almost destroying the Consumerist economy.


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