What are the market research skills of the future?
Jason Anderson of Blizzard Entertainment (a.k.a. @dirkgently on Twitter) had an interesting, and, I think, telling piece of advice during his talk at last week’s Market Research in the Mobile World conference in Cincinnati.
By way of background, Jason’s talk was entitled “A Technologist’s Research Manifesto.” The purpose was to give the audience insight into how Jason – who considers himself more a technologist than researcher – approaches the craft of market research.
One of Jason’s major themes was that he only goes outside of his organization for market research help to answer questions that cannot already be answered by internal data resources. While Jason’s company is highly tech-oriented (they are the publishers of World of Warcraft), he is hardly alone. Most medium and large companies, whether or not they produce a technology-related product, are swimming in rivers of data and are working hard to understand it.
So what was Jason’s advice?
“Hire engineers and statisticians, not MBAs”
While Jason’s advice was directed mainly at market research consulting companies, it is only because they are slower to get that message than internal corporate researchers.
Market researchers – be they consultants or internal to corporations – must speak the language of Big Data. They must be able to corral, tame and wrestle insights from multiple data sources – of which traditional market research surveys and focus groups are simply one part.
These are the market research skills of the future. Ignore them at your peril.