Going the Distance: 4 Essential Plays in an Unpredictable Arena

Scoring the winning points at a basketball game

Whether it’s a nail-biting Super Bowl, the NHL Playoffs or March Madness, the game is full of unpredictability… and change can happen in the blink of an eye. The same can be said about our ever evolving market research industry. Times are changing rapidly and the market research industry is changing with it. Fewer one-off projects, more emphasis on big data, iterative learning and evolving methodologies requires the market researcher, or better defined, insights professional to step out of their comfort zone and redefine and adapt to the new playing field.

So how do we develop a playbook that will enable us to go the distance? 

The Good News:  U.S. News & World Report released its list of the best jobs of 2015, revealing market research analyst as a top profession in the business jobs category, particularly in social media, technology and services. This means the forecast looks good, but the skill set and talent of the future will look different.

The Even Better News:  More opportunities, if we play it right. Success resides in allowing the data and information that is produced from research to materialize into meaningful intelligence that guides decisions whether strategic or tactical. Empowering the entire organization with relevant information that will provoke transformational action needs to be the end goal.

This is easy to talk about, but how are companies making it happen? Many are already changing their game plan, demanding more out of their partners, using data sources and insights they already have, and trying out new methodologies. Here’s a short list on where we see successful insight professionals adapting to the new decision intelligence landscape:

  1. Go beyond charts, graphs, and stating the obvious. Leverage Infographics and visual storytelling to convey insights in new and compelling ways. We are observing great success in creating deliverables tailored to the needs of the brand, marketing and sales teams.
  2. Integrating insights from disparate data streams, whether that data stream is Big Data or Primary Research, is also in high demand. Whether you’re combining methodologies or integrating multiple studies, decision intelligence is where it’s at.
  3. Mobile is now.  More and more, we are using mobile to capture “in the moment” videos and pictures to colorize personas and decision journeys. Survey designs are being optimized to increase engagement and improve quality.
  4. We must pay attention to what’s going on with next generation research methodologies, such as Text Analytics.  It’s not just a bag of words anymore. It’s moved into the realm of conceptual matching, topic correlation, and theme trending to transform it into a bona fide research method; one that can uncover why’s and help predict the future.

Kinjal Shah is a Marketing Manager with CMI Marketing Research.

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