Insight Economy 2019

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 03 /insight-economy-2019 t is not surprising to learn then that the industry has changed radically over the last ten years as the rise of big data analytics, new technology solu- tions and an increasing tendency to in-source research have reshaped the way operators do business. It's mostly been good for cli- ents, who have more choice when it comes to seeking help with their business, says Ms Frost. But it has been uncomfortable for some mar- ket research providers, who face more pressure to deliver quickly and cheaply in an increasingly competitive market. Despite this, the market research industry continues to grow strongly, with research from PwC showing the UK sector alone was worth £4.8 billion in 2016. That was up 62 per cent in four years and larger than the country's public relations and communications sector and its music industry. The rise of big data analytics has been the main driver of the indus - try's expansion, according to PwC, with this sector expanding 350 per cent over the period. From crunching sales and perfor- mance statistics to scraping social media sites, companies are increas- ingly using available data sets to get a more granular picture of their customers, while making use of low-cost analytics services from the likes of Google. For an industry whose founda- tions are based largely on qualita- tive, as opposed to quantitative, research it has been a huge shift, but Ms Frost says it's created opportuni- ties too. People are waking up to the limitations of big data and realising they need help in understanding it, which is where traditional market research companies play a role. In fact PwC found that as the data analytics side of the UK market research has expanded, there has been a simultaneous increase in qualitative research being used to help interrogate findings. "Increasingly firms are generating data for their own purposes, but a lot of it is not very usable, so they are coming to the market research indus - try for help," says Ms Frost. "People have started to talk not about big data, but smart data, which is data collected ethically that will also help you answer a question." There has also been a growing tendency for consumer-focused companies to take their market research in house as they seek to take control of the growing number of sources of information available to them. Take UK media company Sky, which five years ago estab - lished "a more robust" internal team, according to Sarah Jousiffe, the firm's head of qual, closeness and insight engagement. Sky now employs an array of quan- titative and qualitative researchers in house while outsourcing about 40 per cent of research work to a ros- ter of third-party agencies. "Before the majority would have been done externally," Ms Jousiffe says. Consumer-facing companies also have a plethora of new technology tools available to them to help, from programmatic sampling services that let you find samples of consumers online, to survey scripting programs such as Survey Monkey. Jenn Vogel, vice president of mar - keting at Voxpopme, a video insights platform, says the company does work with some market research agencies, but very often companies like hers cut out the middleman by letting firms go direct to consumers. Through Voxpopme's platform, consumers can upload videos of themselves giving feedback on a product or service via their smart - phones. The audio is automatically transcribed and assessed for sen- timent. "We are replacing the old focus groups which can be time con- suming to arrange," she says. Just six years old, Voxpopme already has 60 staff and boasts cli- ents such as food giant Mondelez and detergent maker Clorox. Ms Vogel says the firm grew by 150 per cent in 2018. In response, traditional market research companies have been rac- ing to integrate new technologies and data analytics into their offer- ings. As happened in the advertis- ing industry a few years ago, such operators also face more pressure to explain their pricing. "Customers want faster, cheaper, more innovative research," she says, but warns many do not realise what actually goes into achieving this. "If you want to hear from ten white- van drivers with one leg who vote Conservative, you don't just go out and talk to ten people, you need to speak to 100 people and whittle it down. We need to do a better job of explaining those costs." In the next five years, Ms Vogel expects to see the continued trans - fer of new technology into market research, which at the bleeding edge will mean greater use of develop- ments in neuroscience and behav- ioural economics to help companies gain an advantage. She also expects social media analytics to become more sophisticated, noting that at present social insight is fairly lim- ited in what it can tell you. "People using social media are self-selecting. So the government would never use social media insight to get a picture of what the public are thinking," she says. Ms Jousiffe expects data to play an ever bigger role in the industry, pointing out that her firm is cur - rently "drowning in it". She also thinks there is a job to do in creat- ing a bridge between those man- aging qualitative and quantitative research within companies as they are such different disciplines. "The people who work in research and in data analytics are very differ- ent," she says, "and joining this up has been our biggest challenge over the last five years." She also recommends that more traditional market research com- panies should work in partnership more often with the new tech firms nibbling at their market share as it could create new opportunities. Ms Frost at MRS agrees, urging market incumbents to be "flexible, and to identify and adapt to new ways of doing things". "Look at your client s in t he sa me customer- cent r ic way t hat t hey do w it h t heir customers," she concludes. Expectations now sky-high as research tools evolve INSIGHT ECONOMY @raconteur /raconteur.net @raconteur_london The rise of big data analytics has enabled businesses to glean deeper insights, but clients now want faster, cheaper and more innovative research Suchandrika Chakrabarti Freelance journalist and podcaster, her work has been published in The Guardian, The Times and the New Statesman. Mark Frary Business, technology and science writer with eight published books, he speaks regularly on technology and futurology at conferences. James Gordon Journalist and executive writer, he has written extensively on business, technology, logistics, manufacturing and sport. Virginia Matthews Award-winning journalist in business, education and people management, she writes for national newspapers and specialist business titles. Daniel Thomas Writer and editor, he has contributed to the BBC, Newsweek, Fund Strategy and EducationInvestor, among other publications. Josh Sims Freelance journalist and editor contributing to a wide range of publications such as Wallpaper, Spectator Life, Robb Report and Esquire. Distributed in Daniel Thomas Published in association with Contributors Publishing manager Jack Bailey Digital content executive Francesca Cassidy Head of production Justyna O'Connell Design Joanna Bird Sara Gelfgren Kellie Jerrard Harry Lewis-Irlam Celina Lucey Colm McDermott Samuele Motta Jack Woolrich Head of design Tim Whitlock Associate editor Peter Archer Managing editor Benjamin Chiou Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. 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No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media raconteur.net Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images I N D U S T R Y E V O L U T I O N I ESOMAR 2018 MARKE T RESE ARCH INDUS TRY BRE AKDOWN Top methods, ranked by revenues 10% 9% 8% 14% 25% 34% Other quantitative methods Face to face Mobile quantitative research Phone interviews Online quantitative research Other

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