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Market Research: Innovation or Extermination?

Posted On  January 22, 2013

Business is moving at warp speed, technology disrupting, new sources producing countless bytes of data, and we’re all tangled up in social networks.

It’s 2013 and market research is at a precipice.   Some have already drafted the obituary for market research, while others are excited by what seems like a very timely make-over for the industry.  We’re in the latter camp.  It’s really getting fun!

Is market research going through a transformative period?  Sure, but what industry isn’t?  Consumers still want to consume entertainment but, instead of TVs they are using smartphones and tablets.  We used to call, mail, and email, and now we text, Skype, or FaceTime.   Change is everywhere, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

But let’s stop for a moment to realize, while much is different, in many ways things stay the same.  Industry enthusiasm for innovation and technological progress is clearly on the rise, as LRW Assistant General Manager Jonathan Weiss observed at The Market Research Event late last year. Just because something new and shiny comes along doesn’t mean you throw away the tried and true methods that have worked for years.

Market researchers use science-based approaches to learn about markets and consumer as a means of informing business decisions.  We just have new tools with which we can seek out these learnings, just as an artist can choose to create art using a brush and a computer today.  We can answer new questions, address more complex problems, make more accurate evaluations, and deliver customers, and those trying to reach them,  more of what they want and need because of these new ways of learning.

Now, more easily than ever before, we can explore the emotional drivers of behavior, or tap into the non-conscious drivers of choice.  We can create virtual worlds to discover associations, sense of identity, and connection to brands.  We can marry behavioral information from “big” data sources with attitudinal data collected through primary research, and explore endless “what-if” scenarios using advanced modeling techniques and simulator tools.  No matter which tool you use, it all comes down to two simple words that express one big idea, one big truth: so what?®

The science-based approach of researchers means we can apply “so what?®” thinking not just to research results, but also to research design.  Which new tools are right to address different objectives?  What biases are inherent with any approach?  What trade-offs can be made given the objectives and constraints?

Ask “so what?®” to your business questions and we think it will lead you to your best choices.


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