It’s funny how history repeats itself.
Back in the year 2000, I was a sales representative for a company called Greenfield Online.
At that time, nearly all market research was being done by telephone. Greenfield was a pioneer in the use of online surveys, and specifically the use of online panels for market research.
In my role as a sales representative, I had many conversations with clients about the emerging field of online research.
Oh, there were lots of questions. I spent a lot of time talking about parallel studies showing that in many cases telephone studies could be converted over to an online methodology.
The sales process continued as such for a while. Then in 2001 a curious thing happened. Online research gained currency among the companies which are at the top of the market research purchasing chain – end clients.
Just like that, the questions from clients changed quite quickly from, “is this representative?” to “can you complete this study and for how much?”
Greenfield continued to grow rapidly, and eventually they merged with Toluna.
I see an analogous process taking place with mobile market research. There has been a lot of talk for years about mobile market research.
Now the questions are changing. It’s not “is this valid?” Rather, it’s “can you complete this, and how much will it cost?”
It looks like 2012 was 2000 redux, and 2013 will look remarkably like 2001.