In this month’s Vue, Sandy Janzen outlined her vision for her term as President of the MRIA, the Canadian market research association. One of her main priorities includes ushering a new vision and new membership. From where I stand in the arena of social media research, a new membership seems more important than ever. More and more external industries are embracing what was once purely the hold of market researchers. As other people realize that they too can monitor and report on social media data, or, as in the case of Google and other DIY survey types of companies, the threat to people who define themselves as market researchers is real. I don’t believe that research jobs will disappear as we’ll always need someone who knows how to interpret data, but some of those jobs will disappear. However, if we embrace those new industries and share our respective expertise, our industry will only be better off. More people who understand and promote the rules of quality market research can only be a good thing.
Sandy’s second priority refers to reading less while knowing more. As any of us in the social media space know, there is increasingly more and more to read everyday. In addition to hundreds of Facebook groups specializing in all forms of market research, there is all of Twitter and its various lists, all of the market research organization websites, all the third party market research websites, and thousands of blogs from little people just like me. Keeping up with all of that information every day is physically impossible. Choices must be made and something must lose out. If the MRIA can move its website and associated materials into more people’s must read boxes, particularly in terms of creating and sharing Canadian content, the part that is unique to them, the organization and its constituents will be better off. I’d love to see the MRIA website list webinars, white papers, and blogs from member companies – without hiding anything behind passwords or charging fees.
The third item is establishing an integrity panel for standards. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of this priority. Similar to the first priority, as more industries realize they can contribute to areas that were traditionally the duties of market researchers, we have seen and will continue to see our ethical standards getting stretched and pulled as far as they can possibly go. And further. As more companies take on MR roles, without necessarily being members of an industry organization that imposes ethics, we need to stand up tall now to ensure that ethics and respect for those who freely share their opinions, not money, comes first. Market research was once, and still partially is, viewed as poorly as the telemarketing industry. I would hate to have to fight that battle even harder.
Do read the rest of Sandy’s priorities in the April issue of Vue. Share your thoughts with her and the board. Make your views known. Participate in the process.