As 2012 draws to a close, it’s that time during which all kinds of predictions are made about the upcoming year. Kinesis routinely offers up some predictions about what we expect to occur in the market research industry based upon what we are observing from our colleagues and clients, what we have learned from others at industry events, and most importantly, what is taking place in the broader technology and economic landscape.
So, what does Kinesis predict for 2013? All market research professionals are seeking answers as to where the industry will head next year and beyond. There were many big stories in 2012 — that mobile and social media technologies are displacing traditional methodologies/business models, that big data is front and center for investor attention, and that the Internet industry is impacting the traditional panel business. As market researchers from all segments of the industry ready our business strategies for next year, here is what Kinesis President Leslie Townsend sees coming down the road.
- Market research revenues will achieve modest revenue gains (4+%) in 2013, irrespective of global recession. Some of the revenue next year will be driven by Google Consumer Surveys, along with Facebook, Twitter, and the broader Internet industry’s attempts to enter the market research space in a more deliberate way. The presence of these players is already generating significant demand for market research based on “gut-level” responses to just one or two key questions. These companies facilitate this data collection at a very low cost, and much of this research spending comes out of marketing and advertising budgets, but it will drive revenue growth for overall annual market research spending. Rapid deployment of very simple projects at an extremely attractive price point will facilitate departmental spending for research in cases where time and budgets do not permit full-fledged projects.
- Smartphones and tablets will be used in greater proportion than desktop devices by consumers. Direct consumer communications and advertising via mobile devices will continue to grow rapidly and will often utilize social media and location-based services. High-margin revenue generation will occur in this segment of the marketing industry because of huge demand upon consumer engagement, and for market research, it will ultimately result in a whole new set of in-the-moment and SoLoMo research solutions. Incidentally, Kinesis does believe that mobile usage in survey research participation will also significantly increase next year, even if it doesn’t overtake desktop usage. Mobile respondents now account for more than 30% of Kinesis’ overall survey traffic in the U.S., and we are experiencing noticeable growth in mobile respondents on a quarter-by-quarter basis.
- The amount of data collected in the MR industry will double or triple in the next year because of the focus on big data. Web analytics, social media (Facebook posts, tweets, blogs, etc.), purchase patterns, ad viewership, CRM data, and a host of other sources are all contributing to the huge growth in market research data collection. Much of this information is now considered vital to marketing strategies and how companies compete. The market research industry is still learning how to best combine data in ways that are meaningful and draw new insights, but we expect big data to drive this change and result in significant cross-platform and cross-function assimilation of data. It’s going to happen fast (look at where the investment spend is going).
- Like 2012, 2013 will also be a year of great vendor expansion. The market research industry will continue to see many new vendor start-ups, with more from the Internet industry, but dropouts and consolidation will also continue. Many of the newer companies do not adequately consider that research agencies and end clients often need and require a great deal of flexibility and integration to internal processes, and they do not have the necessary support structures in place yet. Perhaps this is among the best competitive advantages that longer-term industry players have right now. Also, as new product and solution launches require greater capital than ever before in the industry, it is now more difficult to get a start-up off the ground. New vendors must find ways to shorten delivery cycles, specialize in new methodologies, further simplify and automate business process, and integrate to other data sources.
- “Old school” market research will live on in 2013 and well beyond! While all market researchers need to be embracing the new methodologies and solutions that are being driven by big data, mobile, geolocation, social media, etc., this hardly means that traditional (“old school”) market research is going to vanish any time soon. The need for a rational approach to sampling frameworks and behavioral models as applied to research will remain an ongoing science, and will be an essential component of understanding and modeling for big data, as well as the desirability for implementing these new research methods and modes. Traditional research will be the bedrock of validation and justification for the majority of “big spend” research projects, and many specialty segments will continue to rely upon traditional methodologies – and comparisons thereto – for the foreseeable future.
Leslie Townsend briefly shared these predications during Research for Good’s Predictions for 2013 webinar that offered a panel discussion with her and fellow panelists Simon Chadwick of Cambiar, Reineke Reitsma of Forrester, and Leonard Murphy of Gen2 Advisors and the GreenBook Blog. The webinar was moderated by Kristin Luck of Decipher, and it was a lively and highly insightful conversation in which the panelists fielded prediction questions from the attendees. Many questions had to go unanswered during the actual event due to time constraints, but those interested can see the complete Q&A follow-up from Reineke here and from the others here.