A Round-Up of the 2014 GRIT Report, PART 2
The Green Book Guide for Buyers of Marketing Research publishes an annual report based on a survey of research clients and suppliers. The report, known as the GRIT (Greenbook Research Industry Trends) Report, draws on input from over 3000 research professionals, including those from Canada’s Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, to provide an overview of current research industry trends. While the majority of the report pertains to industry activity in the U.S., many of the trends apply to the Canadian industry as well. Here is a synopsis some sections of the 2014 GRIT report, used as a launch pad for my own observations.
Thinking Outside the Box: The Multi-Disciplinary Skill-Set
Over the past decade, an effect of shrinking budgets and expanding technological options is the growth of ‘less formal’ research inquiries, often conducted by organizations in-house or on shoestring budgets with professional suppliers. Concern over research spending has led some organizations to forego the strict rigor of traditional marketing research, in terms of scientific sampling and statistical reliability, in exchange for gathering ‘directional’ information that is deemed ‘good enough’ for immediate purposes.
While this is certainly a departure from the concept of marketing research as the practice of a strict social science, it meshes well with business conditions and rapidly changing consumer targets. Small insights garnered over time form great insights. Expansion of notions of what comprises ‘marketing research’ to include non-traditional research approaches and partners will only serve to build market insights through judicial selection of approaches that can best address the specific questions at hand.
Still, a key to success moving forward will be informed awareness. Marketers need to know when strict research protocols are required to generate reliable outcomes and when ‘small bites’ will serve an immediate purpose. Clients and research suppliers alike will view the best research as ‘layered’ – comprising a number of approaches and multiple information sources to create a textured composite of insights.
As an industry, this will involve a shift in professionals’ skill sets to, more than ever, include those with advanced technology and statistics skills as well as those with ‘softer’ conceptual skills to design research strategy, draw meaning from the various data and bring life to the information in a way than can be communicated to data users. To derive QUALITY research results for their clients, the best research consultants will be those with broad understanding of the full range of traditional and new research methods and the skills to select and incorporate those most productive in any given business context.
Next week, I’ll conclude my round-up of the 2014 GRIT Report in Part Three.
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