“The future is hidden behind the men who make it” Anatole France
In many cultures there is a belief that the future is predictable, and on a strictly epistemological level, we can say that all forms of predictions are equally valid: astrology, tarot, numerology, hand or coffee reading, predictive social science, prophecies like those of Nostradamus or even those of The Simpsons. But beyond how peculiar each of these forms may be, there is one that has been with us for many years and that in itself has among its objectives to help make decisions for the future; Market Research.
Whether it is identifying past behavior patterns, knowing current purchasing habits and preferences, or asking about the intentionality of the action at some point, market researchers have chosen to interpret a kind of fortune teller for our clients, who have the need to anticipate what is to come and act proactively rather than reactively for the good of their brands and / or products.
But what is all this about? In this post we have given the floor to a group of experts in the sector. A group of "fortune tellers" who share their answer to a simple but fundamental question at a time when it has entered our heads that the future we imagine can change, and drastically, from one moment to the next: Which are the trends for Market Research in 2021? Here we bring you four great topics to consider so that you navigate this year with the guidance of the best experts.
Do more with less
To speak of 2021 is to speak instantly of the global economic crisis that we are going through, of the iceberg of which we can barely see the tip. That is why it’s important not to take our eyes off this immense block of ice and to trace a route that takes us away from the direct impact.
As Leonard Murphy mentions in the article MRX Predictions for 2021 From Insights Industry Leaders, “Budget & resource compression; the economic impact of 2020 is still unfolding and will take a while to bounce back so expect more focus on doing more with less”
In this sense, Federico Zambrano - Commercial Director of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru at Netquest, predicts some important changes for the sector, when he shares that “derived from a strong adjustment in research budgets, I see a good number of areas of end-clients investigations wanting to solve business questions on their own, learning a lot about tools available in the industry that allow them to internally tackle some projects in-house; this learning will necessarily unleash a challenge to the investigation agencies that will have to respond to a client increasingly involved in the advances of the industry. "
Others, such as Leandro Izquiero - Executive Director of ACEI, are positive towards what is to come, when he tells us that “The recovery of the economy will come especially in the second half of the year, where investment in market studies will increase due to that the consumer is changing and requires companies to anticipate these changes by identifying new insights. Qualitative research will definitely be key to understanding changes in habits and behaviors. "
The words of our Global Strategy and Regional Sales Director perfectly summarize this new scenario that is being drawn. “Research Industry will have to do more with less; Automation, in-sourcing, and syndicated research will be boosted in 2021”. Enric Cid
Personalization as the main focus
Much has been written and talked about about it, but today is the time not only to take it into account or "under the radar", but to really adapt research strategies and focus on consumers. In people who, like us, have been forced to change their routines, their habits, their lifestyles.
In the words of Sarah Boumprhey, for the article The Critical Role of Market Research in 2021, “Companies will have to get ever closer to the consumer in 2021. Agility, innovation, and bold choices will be needed in order to identify growth opportunities. In this environment, market research and the actionable insights it provides, are even more crucial than ever”.
We can see this idea reinforced in what Urpi Torrado, President of APEIM and CEO of Datum Peru, told us, “the vision for 2021 must start from the fact that people are the center of organizations. Researchers have a responsibility to illuminate the way for those who want to move forward with a people-centered perspective. During the pandemic we proved to be a flexible industry, capable of adapting and reinventing ourselves. In our activity, we grow by making others grow. "
On his side, the CEO of Provokers and Founding Partner of GreenBook Latam, Rafa Céspedes, comments that “The year 2020 and the Pandemic have had a strong impact on the dimensions of time and space, redefining the limits between people and their environment. For example ... living "forced" in our homes / dwellings, led us to observe that space with detention and intentionality, loading it with new meanings and relevance. Where and how we live became the focus of our consumption, investing more in beds, desks, utensils, technology for work, study and leisure, among others. "
And to end this subtopic, Enric Cid adds that “Even though I expect a swift vaccination campaign, the whole year will be absolutely dominated by the pandemic and its aftermath. This scenario adds complexity on top of pre-pandemic trends (gig economy, green and conscious consumption, etc.). To navigate it, consumer understanding will sure be a top priority for the C-Suite”.
Yes, Digital is here to stay
2020 made it very clear to us that the time to innovate and renew "was yesterday", so those who do not bet on digital, innovative and transformative processes and methodologies could be left behind.
To make it clear and there is no doubt, Chris Hubble writes in the entry Top 5 trends and predictions for Market Research in 2021 “Market researchers shouldn’t wait for face-to-face groups to come back. They need to start moving qualitative projects to a virtual setting now. Then, when face-to-face meetings finally do become normal again, some of the more traditional market research practices can be reincorporated. Market researchers should be flexible, ready to embrace virtual tactics while preparing to grasp the opportunities this variable environment provides by combining old and new techniques”.
Along the same line, Mariela Mociulsky, who is CEO of Trendsity and President of SAIMO, points out that “The changes in the entertainment industry and in people are transforming in front of our eyes due to the digitization of everyday life, the brands need to be attentive to new possibilities that are opening up where new behaviors and practices emerge."
On his side, the Marketing Director at Netquest, Ferran Savin, speaks in this regard and goes a little deeper into the importance of combining data sources, “In 2021 I see a year where the trends of recent years will be finally materialized. Automation in market research has been making great strides in the last three years, but this will be the year when we will see more companies making the leap to efficiency and speed. Automation is synonymous with technological development, investment. This will cause us to see more companies collaborating together to bring new, more packaged and scalable
solutions to the market. The first effect of this will be that brands will have more direct access to consumer data, therefore, agency researchers will have to focus on using more advanced and complex techniques that allow combining different data sources in order to provide differentiated insights from high value. "
Ending with the importance of digital, Urpi Torrado told us that “The intelligent adoption of technologies and new digital tools will be key. It is not the data, it is the fusion of data from different sources and the use of hybrid methodologies that will allow us to anticipate trends and understand behaviors. It is time to combine the best of technology with the best human skills. "
We already know that the lock-down, along with the closure of physical shops, work and educational centers, places of recreation and leisure, has led people to reorganize their lives through devices with an internet connection. In other words, we know that there are more people browsing and browsing more and more. But we also know that nowadays, there are people much more aware and concerned about the collection and handling of their personal data.
As Dan Weber, CEO of Tracks, commented in the GreenBook article MRX Predictions for 2021 from Insights Industry Leaders “Privacy and security considerations will be at the forefront of decision making. The “chain of custody” when it comes to storing and retaining data for at-home workers will be scrutinized at an increasing degree, putting more emphasis on service partners to provide robust solutions that protect participants, customers and clients like never before”.
Regarding the concern for privacy and data management, Ferran Savin replied that “The regulations in the different markets, the policies of Google, Facebook and Apple and the imminent death of cookies, will make studies of measurement and advertising effectiveness a technological and privacy challenge. The Market Research sector, which has always been very scrupulous in dealing with private information, can be adversely affected by more questionable behavior in other sectors. This will mean that in order to carry out this type of study, personal identifiers are needed, with which technological platforms for consent management must be developed, the correct and secure storage of privacy data must be ensured, and the universe of people who are willing to be investigated will be reduced. The direct consequence of this is that the costs of collecting this type of data will increase and the diversity of profiles in which advertising research can be carried out will be put at risk. "
Finally, Leandro Izquierdo talks to us about how privacy and data management can be affected now in times of working from home “The Home Office mode will continue to be the trend and will open a world of possibilities hand in hand with the 4.0 industrial revolution, proposing challenges regarding data privacy and reliability. The process will wear down the sources of information and will make us reflect on the need to combine traditional and digital collection methods."
Thus, in a way of closing, we invite you to comment on what your predictions are for this year, since we know that what is presented here may be only a portion of all the trends that are at the door and / or already in practice, such as the combination of sources of data, promote improvement in the quality of the data collected, look for DIY tools that respond more quickly and efficiently to the needs of customers, collaborative work between equals and even competitors, the strengthening of an industry that must begin to look more like a community rich in knowledge and experience.