In a recent Greenbook Blog post entitled “Will 2012 Be the End of the (MR) World as We Know It?”, Greenbook Editor-in-Chief and CEO of RockHopper Research Leonard Murphy gave his predictions for market research trends and changes in 2012. Lenny’s prediction that qualitative will become even more important dovetails nicely with our view. As access to data grows, understanding the meaning behind the data becomes ever more important. Here is Lenny’s eloquent delivery: “Qualies rejoice; your time to shine is nigh! The skill sets of storytelling, connecting disparate data points to form recommendations, and applying the social sciences to understand human behavior will grow in importance. Driven by the demand from brands to truly understand consumers and enabled by the growth of communities, virtual ethnography, ‘Big Data’ analytics, etc… some one will have to step up to make sense of the implications, and researchers grounded in qualitative techniques are well positioned to fill this need.”
At 20/20, we’re doing just that: rejoicing. With many of our online research technology products, we are already prepared to offer easy online qualitative solutions for many of Murphy’s predictions. Of the ten trends he identifies, we are very much on top of at least 3 of them.
1. Surveys get smart: Murphy predicts that surveys will move away from the traditional format of discrete ad hoc surveys that pose 30 questions or more in one sitting. He foresees surveys changing into “broad tracking systems that dynamically create targeted questions based on the synthesis of consumer data from social media, panelist profiles, CRM, POS, and any other data source we can get our hands on.” Already, 20/20’s technology product QualLink offers seamless integration of traditional quantitative surveys with a qualitative online bulletin board discussion. With this product, simple quantitative survey results are used to create hybrid quant-to-qual research, transforming a traditional survey’s capabilities and insights.
2. Once more, with feeling: “As technologies that help us understand emotional decision making mature and new approaches come to market, the merger with behavioral economics models will become the norm. Whether biometric/neuro/facial or cognitive modelling based, brands will be investing heavily in the quest for the Holy Grail: understanding the levers of choice and learning to optimize their offerings based on those drivers,” Murphy said. While stated opinions and preferences will still play a role in market research, technology like our QualBoard 3.0 that accommodates nonverbal, physical cues through webcam videos will help researchers gather all the richness of a participant’s response – body language, tone of voice and emotion.
3. Mobile, mobile, mobile: From Murphy’s viewpoint, mobile will be the defining technology of the next five years, which will greatly affect all market research. At 20/20, we’ve anticipated this trend by offering QualAnywhere, a mobile platform that allows researchers to collect real-time data through texting and picture messaging.