Market Research Technology – Is Your Firm On-Board?

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The more than $22 billion spent on research in the U.S. used to be dominated by a few very large, service-driven firms but LLR Partners says, “We predict that in the next five years, traditional research technology incumbents will represent less than 50% of the total market, creating a massive opportunity for smaller more tech-forward players.” How is market research technology evolving and is your firm going to be part of this predicted paradigm shift?

Why is there a need for change?

Questionnaires, interviews and focus groups use for the last 80 years pays testament to traditional research’s value and effectiveness. Forbes says  these six problems of traditional market research are paving the way for the market research technology juggernaut:

  1. Overstatement bias – the say/do gap
  2. Limit to the number of questions that can be asked
  3. Respondent engagement/quality
  4. Slow
  5. Expensive
  6. Inability to look forward and predict effectively

Kantar in their report on How Technology is Transforming Market Research says, “At its core, market research is a discipline designed to help us keep up with change. But at times, even market research itself must transform to keep up with the market.” Here are some of the transformative technologies impacting market research that speak to each of the six problems facing traditional market research.

Consumer Neuroscience

Decoding facial expressions to predict overall sentiment with a high degree of accuracy is now possible with the application of neuroscience. “The transformative power of this approach is that it overcomes implicit biases that are often found in self-reported measures of emotional response.”


Automation through DIY market research platforms, simulated environments and online surveys and online capture of results has streamlined the market research process and made it more repeatable, more quickly and cost effectively. The time between putting a survey in-field and retrieving valuable consumer feedback has been shortened from weeks to as little as a few hours, and with far fewer market researchers having to participate.

Audience Access

Panel marketplaces have democratized audience access with platforms that target specific market segments within a vast customer pool. It is no longer necessary for clients or market research suppliers to maintain relationships with dozens of different companies that serve up certain audience types.

Predictive Power

Behavioral data sources that include the internet, smart phones and social media commentary allow analysis of a vast and rich data source for understanding trending issues and purchase behavior and preferences. Artificial Intelligence has the power to process these large amounts of data and can help firms progress from looking only at past behavior to predicting future behavior with statistical confidence. Stephan Gans, Pepsico Chief Insights and Analytics Officer talks about creating a consumer insights function that is, “more predictive, more iterative, less sequential. More precise; end-to-end. More human, more empathetic, better connected with the everyday lives of our consumers.”

Are you a part of market research technology that is creating faster, easier-to-use tools that help brands discover what consumers truly think?

Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research and Consumer Insights Recruiting Practice Lead, Lindsey Bartlett at lbartlett@smithhanley.com to talk further.



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