Market Research Today: The GRITty, Quirky Details

Market research is a niche field, but an important one. The future of major companies and industries is often guided by the findings of market research.

Market Research Today: The GRITty, Quirky Details

This article is based on an episode of the B2B Market Research Podcast. The audio version is also available here.

That said, researching the researchers and the state of research itself can be a bit of an arduous task. Fortunately, both GreenBook and Quirk’s are up to the task.  Each organization publishes a yearly report that analyzes the current state of the market research industry.

With that background in mind, I’m going to review the findings from GreenBook’s GRIT Report and Quirk’s Corporate Research Report. Both reports are quite long, so I’m going to pull the key pieces of info that I believe are most important for researchers to focus on.

The GRIT Report and Quirk’s Corporate Research Report are published every year. The GRIT Report was just recently released and the Quirk’s Report is due for an update soon.

The GRIT Report

First, we’ll focus on the GRIT Report because it’s the most recent version of the two. This report seeks to present “a meaningful snapshot of the research industry” including questions on topics like “automation, training needs, and the future of sampling” along with “a view on adoption of newer technologies/methods, opportunities & threats in the industry, financial forecasting” and more.

One thing that I found particularly interesting was the focus on the future of sample. (For more on that subject, check out our podcast episode and related blog post: Don’t Hire That Panel Firm.) The GRIT study stated that 38% of buyers believe that sample is going to get worse, so that’s not a good thing if you’re a sample provider.

Another area of the report that I thought was interesting is focused on what methods are emerging in market research.

  • Mobile surveys and online communities are basically now mainstream. 61% of the companies surveyed looking to use online communities and 22% considering. 74% of the companies said they were using mobile surveys and 17% said they were considering.
  • Webcam-based interviews, text analytics and social media analytics have also reached wide adoption with the combination of under consideration and in use percentages reaching over 60% in all three cases.

Even more fascinating, the report reveals the delta between buyers and sellers of market research when it comes to certain approaches.

  • 55% of buyers were using big data analytics while only 35% of suppliers were.
  • 60% of buyers were using social media analytics while only 45 % of suppliers were.

According to the report, the reason for this may be that market research teams inside companies are using nonstandard suppliers or methods to access this data. I concur. Even in our work, we use a wide array of nonstandard tool sets to gather data on social media analytics, content marketing analysis, search engine optimization analysis, web traffic analysis, etc.

The report also highlighted the types of training that market research professionals thought were the most important.

  • Finding the story in the data topped the list. 38% of the overall respondents felt that this was the most important type of training. For buyers, 43% put this as the most important training.
  • Data visualization skills and aligning business needs to research methods were also viewed as important.

We’ve covered all three of these subjects on the podcast before.

For some free training on each subject, check out our episodes on How to Make Your B2B Market Research Presentation TEDtastic, why market researchers should adopt a flipped-classroom mindset for readouts, our interview with “Storytelling With Data” Author Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, and more on our blog.

Quirk’s Corporate Research Report

The Quirk’s report has a slightly different focus. This report centers on “work life and compensation” with the aim of giving corporate researchers “an in-depth look into their world,” a view of what their peers and colleagues are doing, and a way to benchmark themselves and their departments.

To me, it indicated several areas where market researchers should be upping their game.

This annual report is due for an update soon. The info I’m reviewing in this podcast is based on the report’s findings which were published in the latter half of 2015. I’ll be posting a follow up when the 2016 report is released, sometime later this year.

I was interested in the response to the report’s question, “How do you deliver and report insights within your organization?”

  • Small group presentations were at the top of the list at 95%.
  • 94% used written reports.
  • Infographics appeared mid list with 36% reporting that they used them to present insights within their organization.
  • Only 21% said they used video or multimedia.

The GRIT and Quirk’s Report got similar answers when investigating how often market researchers incorporate data from non-marketing research sources into their projects.

The answers aligned up pretty well. For the Quirk’s Report, 45% of respondents said sometimes, 27% said most of the time and 6% said always.

On the subject, the GRIT Report states, “The main worry for market research providers is the suggestion from the data that many research buyers are turning to non-market research sources for their Big Data Analytics and Social Media Analytics – something the GRIT report has been showing for some time now.”

One of the most fascinating areas covered in the Quirk’s Report was focused on how suppliers fail to execute. The top three problems found by the report were:

  • “Vendor over promised and under delivered.”
  • “Project was handled by low-level staff.
  • “The vendor didn’t take the time to understand our business.”

That last point is something that I see that frequently downgrades the quality of market research studies.

Many vendors are so spread across the different types of businesses and industries that they work with that they can’t possibly understand a particular business in-depth. This obviously impacts their ability to use data effectively in the readout and to engage in effective storytelling.

That was one of the reasons we decided to dedicate Cascade Insights exclusively on the needs of B2B technology companies. Having that focus for our small, boutique firm, I feel lucky to have avoided these problems over the last 10 years.

My message to the rest of the industry on this point would be to focus and to be just as comfortable saying what you’re not good at as what you are.  That alone will make you a better research supplier.

This podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights. We specialize in market research and competitive intelligence for B2B technology companies. Our focus allows us to deliver detailed insights that generalist firms simply can’t match. Find out what we do and how we can help.

Image used courtesy of Apinan/Fotolia.

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