As we reach the end of 2014, it’s time to look back at the past 12 months in research. In this, the first of a series of five review articles, Research-live reveals what industry players see as the most significant developments of the last year.
Research-live asked members of the research community what they felt had been the most significant developments, either technological or methodological, of 2014. Here’s some of what they said:
While it’s not a new capability for 2014, a number of people felt that self-service research, driven by improved technology and a need for low-cost approaches, had been one of the year’s most significant developments.
“While it’s not a new development, I feel that in 2014, automation has moved from a ‘dirty little secret’ to becoming an empowerment tool for market researchers. Everyday tasks are now being done more efficiently.” Frederic Charles Petit, founder and chief executive, Toluna.
“This has to be the rise of Zappistore and their self-service offers. The last few years has thrown up many low-cost research options, but this is the first iteration that was been fuelled by tried and tested, modern, research techniques.It’s not a catch-all product that’s suitable for every client or every research brief, but when speed is of the essence this service can be a quick and easy option to aid decision making.” David Howlett, strategic planning director, MMR.
“The acceleration of change in market research, from traditional to new methods, from full service to specialist providers, from representative to non-representative sampling, from laboratory research to real life surveys, to faster – cheaper – good enough quality research, especially for general consumer research, with inexpensive panel respondents and DIY research tools. Whereby technology plays an ever increasing important role.” Wander Meijer, COO, MROps.
The rise and rise of mobile
The dominance of mobile was a key theme of 2013, and its role seemingly did not diminish in 2014.
“The most significant development for 2014 has been the continued exponential growth of smartphones and tablets. This is affecting how people access content faster and more decisively than expected with impact on news, TV, music consumption and the associated advertising exposure.” Martin Filz, CEO EMEA, Lightspeed
“Mobile technology — enabling people to be connected and enabled to new heights wherever they are and whatever they are doing. This has major implications for marketers as the fight for consumer attention is being taken ‘out to the street’.” Elissa Moses, executive vice president, Ipsos Neuro & Behavioural Science Centre
Linked to the strength of mobile has been the growth of real-time capabilities, both for marketing and market research. While the research community sees this as a positive development, there is a reminder that care must be taken.
“There is a growing use of real-time technology with personal customer data at the core. This is good news on one side as research becomes more accessible, cost effective and rapid. However more care and concern must be taken with personal data and information security – changing local standards for data and security affect global studies.” Nigel Cover, vicepresident, Business Services Europe, MaritzCX.
Getting to grips with big data
While big data was the theme of 2013, some — buut not all — felt that 2014 was the year that the industry started to harness its power.
“This was the year where we really started to understand what our data trails can tell us about consumers. Not just what we do but how we feel, our intentions, our attitudes. The promise of what data can deliver is starting to become more tangible.” Colin Strong, head of Industry, GfK