Following my first guest blog for Research Talent Hub about the term market research, I now really want to delve into that term and its future in the market space.
And I predict there are 4 key areas that will enhance and change the way we think of market research in years to come:
- The world is mobile
- Social media/social listening
- Hiring for the future
The World Is Mobile Mad
In 2016, approximately 63% of the population had a mobile phone, and that is predicted to be higher than 70% in 2019. The market penetration of mobile phones has sky rocketed over a number of years.
Years ago, individuals were scared of even purchasing a mobile phone, or I might call it a brick, with the good old days of the snake. But then Apple created the iPhone and customers behaviours have changed drastically over the years because of new technology and applications.
I am always on my mobile as a market researcher and as a human being too, and I think this distinction is important to remember. We continuously ask consumers questions, but sometimes forget that we are actually human beings as well.
And where mobile is king and queen, I feel technology and mobiles will only get more sophisticated, and market research tools and products will need to adapt to these advancements quickly.
In my opinion, in 5-10 years, machines could be taking approximately 30% of general jobs in the market research sector, with lower costs being an obvious benefit to any employer to invest in AI.
Having said that let’s not forget human intelligence. Human ability to apply knowledge and skills will always be required through the market research life cycle, where humans are able to understand the data and translate it to make business decisions.
I truly believe it’s not something we need to be scared of as researchers. It should motivate us to enable us to progress in our market research careers and create a niche within the sector. Whether that is with qualitative, quantitative research or something wacky!
Customers (ourselves) clearly want to use up to date technology and applications, and if they feel like they are getting better service, then market research will be more widely accepted.
A thought to spin all those motions on its head… With the use of technology and automation, there is a clear conception that reports, and online surveys can be completed quicker which then means more pressure from clients to deliver insights and stories to shorter deadlines.
Social Media And Social Listening
In a world where many individuals are using Twitter and other social media platforms, I feel social listening will become a significant player in the future of market research.
Brands require not just data and information, but in the moment responses that are spontaneous. This is where social media is king allowing companies to understand the positive, neutral and negative sentiment towards a brand and their products online, and empowering brands to react in time and quickly to ever-changing market space.
With the use of social analytics, brands can gain a deep understanding of who is talking online and also why. Interestingly, companies will be able to learn more about individuals who are posting online about their brand, which will then let them target specific groups of potential buyers who could be interested in their product.
Hiring For The Future And How Can We Adapt?
I feel many generic market research roles will become non-existent in around 5 to 10 years because of some of the points I have already raised. And you can already tell this change is happening with more ‘new’ job titles popping across social media and job portals including:
- Data Scientist
- New Gen Research Consultant
- Tech Executive
- Effectiveness Consultant
This means that the future market research sector will need ‘hybrids’ – skilled experts in not just one aspect but many different methodologies and tools, including dreaded ‘Python’ and ‘R’! So, both market research jobseekers and businesses themselves will need to adapt in line with their clients hiring needs and invest in training and learning new skills.
Overall, the future of NEW GENERATION MARKET RESEARCH is an exciting one! It will make the sector even more appealing to a wider range of graduate candidates who traditionally entered a more lucrative fin tech industry!