What do Millennials, Procurement, and Mobile Qualitative Have in Common?

Posted on: March 28th, 2017 by doyle

5 Micro-Trends We Are Noticing at Doyle Research

From the desk of Kathy Doyle

It all started with a question from a marketing consultant we hired to work with us on targeting and positioning.   “What’s happening in the market research industry that could have an impact on your business, and why?”trends

As I began trying to answer that question, I noticed some “micro-trends” emerging.   Not the biggies, like automation and big data, but some smaller ones with a day-to-day impact.  Here are five I noted:

  • The Millennial effect. As Millennials become a greater proportion of our clients, we have noticed two trends emerging:  1) they are far more likely to find us via an internet search than a referral from a friend or colleague.    This is completely opposite of what business looked like 10-15 years ago.  And necessitates changes in how we market and sell our services; and 2) “bigger is decidedly NOT better” when it comes to deliverables.    The days of 100-page reports being a tangible sign that a client has gotten their money’s worth are long gone.    Millennial clients are far more likely to want a handful of slides that are clear, concise, and highly visual.  I can’t blame them.   Information is coming at us all at top speed.  But as a researcher, this is difficult to accept much less deliver!
  • The resurgence of qualitative research.  For a while, clients were reporting that they were relying more on big data, social media research, and desk research.   Now we are hearing that there is simply no substitute for observing and engaging with customers first hand.   The pendulum has swung again.  And “why” is where it’s at.
  • The dominance of mobile research. Almost any method or technique we’ve used over the past 30 years is now being “mobile-ized”.   And should be.  It’s the way our customers are communicating in 2017.   We are using mobile for virtual shopalongs, virtual ethnography, in-the-moment intercepts (incorporating geofencing technology), mobile diaries, mobile homework assignments.    Mobile allows us to get closer to our customers when and where behaviors are occurring and decisions are being made.
  • The rise of procurement. As procurement departments become more common, they are impacting us in two ways:  1) delaying the start of projects, just when the trend is toward faster turnaround; but also 2) challenging us to better explain our value, since apples to apples pricing comparisons are difficult to achieve in qualitative research. Learning to understand the procurement mindset, and how best to work with them to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes, is of increasing importance.
  • The need to deliver faster, cheaper AND better. I wrote a blog post about this a year ago.   It used to be standard wisdom that you could only deliver two of the three, but never all three.   That is rapidly changing.  The emergence of machine translations, text analytics, video management software, DIY recruiting, automated incentive payments, among others, are making it not only possible, but imperative, that we strive to achieve all three.

The times, they are a changin’.    And we are learning to change with them!

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