Voxpopme 3: Is market research slow to adopt new technologies?


Along with a group of market resevoxpopme logoarchers from around the world, I was asked to participate in Voxpopme Perspectives – an initiative wherein insights industry experts share ideas about a variety of topics via video. You can read more about it here or watch the videos here. Viewers can then reach out over Twitter or upload their own video response. I’m more of a writer so you’ll catch me blogging rather than vlogging. 🙂

Episode 3: Think about the barriers and resistance to new technology in the research industry that you’ve come across. People say that market research is slow to adopt. Is it true?

No. 100% no.

My absolute defiance to this question stems from one very important definition: what is market research? For me, market research is any scientific process (whether qualitative and quantitative!) that helps us to better understand consumers and markets. As you see, that definition says nothing about surveys or focus groups or big data or artificial intelligence. Methods and technology play no part. Companies  marketing themselves in the market research business play no part. That definition doesn’t say System 1 Research, Affectiva, or Ipsos. It also doesn’t say Google, Facebook, or Tesla.

With that in mind, the market research industry is full steam ahead. We are awash with companies at the forefront of artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, virtual/augmented/modified/extreme reality. If you can name a way awesome technology, I can guarantee you that someone is using it for market research purposes. Of course, the company might have been formed three months ago in someone’s basement or maybe even two years ago. And, even though they’re doing it, the company might not even know what “market research” or “consumer research” is.

What our industry is REALLY good at is claiming that other industries are trying to barge into our territory. We’re REALLY resistant at acknowledging that market research companies exist outside of those claiming a spot on market research supplier lists. That there are many other companies doing what we thought we could claim as MINE MINE MINE.

So on that note, if you’re looking forward to a career in market research, don’t necessarily seek out a company that markets themselves as market researchers. Seek out companies that work to understand consumers and markets, whatever the name or size of the company and whatever industry or methodology they use. There are a ton of really cool companies out there doing some amazing things even though they’ve never heard of ESOMAR, MRIA, Insights Association, ARF, AMSRS, or MRS before. Once you’re there, feel free to introduce us to them. We’re lovely people!

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