Editor’s Note: The following article is the second and final installment of GreenBook’s two-part Market Research Predictions for 2022. Market Research Predictions is an annual GreenBook Blog series that features insights and analytics leaders’ predictions for the new year. View part one here.
The democratization of research
“Research platforms will continue to grow and create pressure on traditional MRX firms to integrate them into their processes. The democratisation of research will advance, with mere respondents graduating to two-way “participants”, thereby increasing the authenticity of qualitative interpretation and accuracy of quantitative forecasts.” – Hubertus Hofkirchner, CEO of Prediki Prediction Markets
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape virtual-first life, research is pivoting. We are seeing increased research disintermediation and democratization, with 48% of research now conducted internally at brands through DIY tools (according to the 2021 ESOMAR Buyer study). This trend has increased by 20% since the year prior, and as such, we should expect wider adoption of agile insights tools next year and beyond. It is imperative for seasoned market research professionals to uphold data quality standards in emerging technologies and work intentionally to combat the nefarious actors looking to garner incentives at scale. Since COVID-19 first emerged, cyberfraud has increased dramatically in our industry by over 200%, so the stakes have never been higher.” – Lisa Wilding-Brown, CEO of InnovateMR
“As the industry continues to create superior ways to curate complex research on consumers, we must focus our efforts on the democratization of research and make detailed data available in a simplified way to any business. 2022 will be the year to truly drive democratization because the technology is there to enable it. Today, you don’t need to be a research expert to do this. The most junior members of an organization’s marketing team should be informed by easily available research that they can interact with, respecting the integrity of methodology, but at scale. We’ve witnessed a democratization of consumer opinion and user-generated content online, but this has yet to be replicated in the business world. In 2022, as research continues to be technology-driven against the backdrop of constantly changing consumer sentiment, the industry must democratize research within the enterprise, giving marketing teams the ability to access automated research at a scale that can inform key decisions.” – Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO & Founder of Toluna
Data collection in a Web 3.0 world
“How data is collected will reflect reality more than ever before with the emergence of Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Web 3.0 makes it frictionless to include real-life financial incentives to reveal actual purchase behavior. The metaverse removes barriers to recreate realistic purchase experiences and likely will even introduce completely new purchase experiences at the same time.” – Anouar El Haji, Founder and CEO of Veylinx
“As a cookie-less future becomes more imminent, the digital advertising world will be looking more and more to market research and market research technology firms to bolster their data and analytics. In 2021, we saw two major deals go through in the research technology space that point to the type of appetite companies have for consolidating data. Market research firms that think about how their data plays a role in a cookie-less future will have an advantage over those that don’t.” – Mario X. Carrasco, Co-Founder & Principal of ThinkNow
“The deprecation of third-party cookies in the ad industry will likely help revive older research methods such as audience measurement panels or surveys as marketers look to find out what shoppers do and think, or who has been exposed to ads and how many times. This, in turn, might lead to increased pressure on providers to provide transparent, accountable measurement while offering affordable solutions to industry players who previously used cookies as their main measurement method and aren’t willing to pay as much as brands and agencies for panel or survey data.” – Gilles Giudicelli, Head of Research at Criteo
“The last couple of years have demonstrated an age-old reality: how little control one actually has over daily life. It has also demonstrated to the insights world that traditional research – asking people why they do things, and what they’ll do next – is based on consumers’ flawed perception of control. So winning brands will look to more subconscious measures, and patterns over time to explain and predict behavior – versus merely asking people to narrate how they’ll react to the unsure world around them.” – Hunter Thurman, President of Alpha-Diver: Human Truths via Neuroscience
“The digital ecosystem is moving further from the promise of digital… That media and advertising effectiveness at driving incrementality are easily inferred from user-level data that arises as exhaust of the digital process. Due to privacy concerns, walled gardens are growing higher and identifiers are being removed or made fuzzy using differential privacy approaches such as cohorts. The big challenge for 2022 will be for analytics teams to figure out how to integrate or even curate diverse signals of effectiveness coming at them from different sources and using very different protocols. Linear methods will not work so more inventive math or fully-permissioned data sources are needed.” – Joel Rubinson, President of Rubinson Partners, Inc.
“The one area I want to call out is the increased use of consumer data. Brands have at their fingertips so much data on their consumers, this can include transitional, search, social, browsing data, etc. Due to the ease of analysis and interpretation, this is first being used to help solve a problem or identify gaps before conducting primary research. We’re seeing successful research agencies helping brands to find the consumer insights within the digital footprints left by consumers. Data delivers the “what” and primary research the “why”.” – Martin Filz, CEO of Pureprofile
“Data scarcity will continue to grow, endangering the availability of high-quality data and elevating its importance. Improving the respondent experience and optimizing conversion are critical to keeping pace as demand exceeds supply.” – Gary Laben, CEO of Dynata
“The last couple of years have given us incredibly detailed insight into widespread inequities around the world. The data and insights industry is not immune to those inequities and many of us have had to address them head-on.
As such, my prediction (and my wish) for 2022 is that we’ll see far greater demand for research that is inclusive and respectful of marginalized communities, particularly people who are Black, Indigenous, disabled, and LGBT+.
Specifically, we’ll see far more requests for sample that truly reflects the general population. Not just basic demands for more diverse sample but also for sample boosts that ensure generalizations are reliable and actionable. If sample companies don’t already have it hard enough, get ready for it to be even more difficult. And, we’ll see far more requests from clients for our reports to be truly inclusive. Ignoring a set of data points from Black or Indigenous communities because sample sizes are too small will be unacceptable.” – Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer, North America of E2E Research
“There’s a very strong trend that took hold in 2021 regarding long surveys. On a macro level, we saw prices increase roughly 5% year over year for surveys under 15 minutes, whereas surveys over 15 minutes saw prices increase over 25%. Surveys over 20 and 30 minutes saw steeper price increases. We predict this pressure to remain as sophisticated suppliers have learned how to choose shorter surveys programmatically.” – Michael McCrary, CEO of PureSpectrum
“While quantitative work will continue to grow for obvious reasons, qualitative will become even more relevant as companies continue to re-shape their customer personas to align with changes wrought by the pandemic. Virtual interviewing technology will continue to be critical to facilitating access to buyers, but when Omicron fades, in-person will come roaring back.
My sincerest wish for 2022? Panel quality will get the deeper focus needed to sustain the growing demand for both business and consumer sample.” – Jay Shutter, CEO of Iluminas
“We are going to start treating our respondent supply less as a commodity and more as a non-renewable resource we must work to protect. Pre-Covid, it almost seemed like the supply of eager research respondents was limitless, as we kept finding novel ways to open up access to the pockets of engaged respondents across the ecosystem. In many ways, Covid showed that there are real limits to the respondent supply that underpins the entire insights industry. In 2022, we will start to see providers get smarter about how they treat their first-party data access, and those with direct relationships with research respondents will start demanding higher access fees and will start pushing back on survey designs or research requests that create poor member experiences for their valuable panelists.” – Isaac Rogers, Chief Innovation Officer of Schlesinger Group
“On the user side, people will continue to refuse to complete surveys, if the user experience is not friendly and rewarding. Brands who don’t understand the potential of building communities and collaborative market research approaches with their customers will fall behind.” – Adriana Rocha, Global CEO of Ecglobal
“As many qualitative organizations have moved to delivering quantitative solutions, major panel providers will begin rolling out focused turn-key qualitative recruiting solutions as part of their offerings.
Practitioners looking to maximize the value of their time will abandon the trend of DIY survey programming and DIY sampling so they can focus on spending their high-value time with clients understanding the organizational issues, helping define strategy, and delivering key insights to help the client succeed.” – James Whaley, CEO of OvationMR
Changing consumer behavior and expectations: Turning to CX
“Consumer behavior will change yet again in 2022. As savings dwindle for many (but not all) consumers and (hopefully) as more consumers start to venture out of home again and back to services, companies will see still more shifts in behavior. Those who keep ahead of their consumer – giving them what they want, when and where they want it – will be able to best succeed. Given this premium on deeply understanding the consumer of today and tomorrow, companies will continue to draw deeply on both quantitative and qualitative insights. I predict that 2022 will remain a busy year for us all.” – Tamara Charm, Partner of McKinsey & Company
“The pandemic will still be highly influential, and likely making a big change, as we realize that it is likely here to stay – albeit perhaps coming and going in waves. This might lead to changes that reflect a switch from coping to adapting, both among customers and corporations.
This is likely to lead to further changes in consumer patterns, gravitating towards mostly-digital touchpoints, and in-person touchpoints being chosen only when certain safety precautions are in place (and clearly signaled).
As a consequence, I expect digital and online solutions to grow even more than previous years. Solutions that thrive in, and depend on, this milieu are likely going to see a quicker growth than other comparable solutions.
A second type of prediction is that there will be more, not less, need for consumer insights. As consumers change their preferences and behaviors based on perceived or actual changes in society and the pandemic, it is likely that trends will switch faster.” – Thomas Z. Ramsøy, CEO of Neurons
“Away-from-home and on-the-go consumption will continue to increase. Trends of convenience, particularly around meal solutions, will continue. Demand for on-the-go options will increase. Self-care and home care will remain priorities.” – Joan Driggs, VP of Content and Thought Leadership of IRI
“Digital transformation is here to stay – there’s no going back to the way things were pre-COVID. By moving so much of our lives online, we’ve uncovered the fact that consumers value the convenience of this new lifestyle, whether for work or shopping. But now they have higher expectations for customization and personal experiences. As a result, CX has become a major focus – companies that have deeply understood consumers not only provide extraordinary experiences, but they’ve thrived in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.
A stronger focus on CX will bring more interest in customer closeness programs that have the power to build empathy, as organizations seek to further educate themselves on consumers’ lifestyles, wants, and needs. And as organizations become more agile to survive, consumer voices will feedback into the iteration process, influencing everything from marketing to design and innovation.” – Jim Longo, Chief Strategy Officer of Discuss.io
“CXM, which used to be CX which used to be CEM or CRM, is claiming more and more of the traditional market research pie. Of course, market research pretends to embrace the CXM industry and wants to own it but that game seems lost to the tech companies.” – Michalis Michael, CEO of DMR
“There are a lot of trends that I suspect will keep moving forward in the next year – the growth of platforms, focus on sample quality, democratization of research, and more. One that I believe will gain significant traction is data integration, particularly true behavioral data. Most data sets provide insights into some characteristics of the captured data. But the larger, more interesting, and impactful stories come from understanding how data sets fit together. Customer experience information provides a guide to improvement based on consumer feedback. Customer experience combined with sales data can start to prioritize those improvements with consideration to both the business and the consumer. While this is happening in marketing research today, it is the exception rather than the rule. It won’t become the rule in 2022, but will get closer.” – Gregg Archibald, Managing Partner at Gen2 Advisors
“The Chief Customer Officer (CCO) will overtake the CMO role with respect to knowledge and decision-making power. Traditional marketing metrics will take a backseat to truly understanding the why behind customer values. There will be a new requirement for solid metrics tying customer-centric outcomes to business outcomes – Customer Performance Indicators (CPIs) will find their seat next to KPIs. As consumers expect brands to be more socially conscious, a brand’s delivery on emotional and social values will increase in importance.” – Camille Nicita, President & CEO of Gongos, Inc.
“Brand Keys took both a look back and ahead using all 25 years of our database containing 4.3 million customer loyalty and engagement assessments for 1,624 brands in 142 categories, assessments representing the world’s largest continuous brand tracking database to ID 4 2022 trends.
Consumer foundations for brand engagement, product and service consumption, and loyalty will be almost entirely emotionally based; a decision-making ratio of 80% emotional, 20% rational for 2022.
Consumer expectations will continue to increase (+39%) faster than brands can keep up with what consumers will desire. Value Ownership will be 2022’s lock on loyalty and differentiation, a brand-state going beyond 20th-century differentiation to define category leaders.
Brand dominance and profitability will be synergistic. Adjusted for a new century and inflation, loyalty will matter more than ever. It will cost 13 to 18 times more to recruit a new customer than to keep an existing one (+60% vs. 1997).” – Robert Passikoff, Founder and President of Brand Keys, Inc.
Reconfiguring of the MRX industry
“Large companies will accelerate the implementation of agile management and methods across all organizations. Therefore, market research will not exist anymore as a separate area or department. Market researchers will become part of multifunctional agile teams being the specialists in human insights. Agile market research platforms will be in high demand, and will have the capacity to integrate quantitative, qualitative, and big data analytics into CRM and internal data lakes.” – Adriana Rocha, Global CEO of Ecglobal
“Work is never going back to normal, and neither will market research. Buyers have changed how and with whom they conduct insights work. As businesses increasingly value and champion research, they will seek suppliers who can deliver on innovation and quality.
The new face of market research delivers accurate, automated verification that filters the right respondents to ensure clean data and deliver tangible ROI. As we look into the future, we envision a self-serve insights marketplace where clients can interact with the knowledge network themselves. This will give clients access to highly specific, segmented audiences for studies ranging from a single question to a three-year tracker.
Buyers are looking more closely than ever at supplier reputation and innovation, rather than just price and relationship. Research firms must demonstrate that they bring something new and quantifiable to the table to thrive in the new tomorrow.” – Sascha Eder, CEO of NewtonX
“Organizations will increase their spend understanding and optimizing ERP and supply chain issues which will continue to drive increases in B2B research and for more diverse industrial, technical, and field operations titles. Research practitioners, whether principally focused on consumer segments or B2B, will be challenged by clients to take on B2B projects and challenged by their current networks to assist them – especially for qualitative B2B phases.” – James Whaley, CEO of OvationMR
“First, greater focus on actionable information and less on the elusive “insights”, which continue to be a buzzword misused for every finding in a research project. Second, the fact that you are not calling it the market research industry aligns with previous predictions that the industry’s name is outdated and everyone needs to accept that it will further renew itself whether market researchers like it or not.” – Michalis Michael, CEO of DMR
“Software-driven speed and efficiency will be an increasingly expected hygiene by Enterprise Customers. Additionally, expect an increasing focus on holistic human understanding in insights rather than simple stated responses.” – Ged Parton, CEO of Maru
View Market Research Predictions for 2022 (Part One) on the GreenBook Blog here!