Lately there have been several high profile new entrants into the “insights” business, most of them (but not all) from outside of the traditional market research industry. Examples range from some major global companies to small start ups. On a similar note, the Insight Innovation Competition GreenBook and NewMR are currently conducting is emerging as a showcase for even more companies that want to revolutionize the business of market research. It all adds up to a disruption of the market research industry that is simply unprecedented.
What this activity tells me is that the hunger for new ways to understand consumers is only increasing in urgency, while the commoditization of data continues apace. Market research simply is not the primary channel for data to drive strategic decision making today. In fact, it is quickly becoming marginalized as new business intelligence approaches deliver data cheaper, faster, and in a more useful way than traditional market research can. It’s an interesting dynamic, and one that seems to only underline the growing realization in most corners of the industry that the true value of the market research industry is NOT in data collection, but rather in generating insights that deliver real impact. This message has been echoed by many lately, both within industry media and at just about every industry event. It certainly seems that many of these new firms are building business models based on data delivery only, leaving the analysis and implications to others; it’s a twist on the old field & tab model, albeit applied to whole new methods that have little in common with survey modalities. Let’s take a look at a few of these emerging companies and then tell me if you agree with my analysis.
Perhaps the highest profile player to stake a claim for research is IBM. Brian Tarran at Research.live has an excellent overview of their strategy, informed by the results of a recent study the technology conducted with CMOs on the topic of data usage. Here is the crux:
Marcel Holsheimer, a former Unica and SPSS executive now working in the enterprise marketing management division of IBM, describes the world today as one that offers up as many threats as opportunities for companies. Failing to adapt your business to the online world could mean eventual demise, he says, but embracing Facebook and Twitter and heavy-duty analytics tools offers new avenues for growth...