Market research will need to keep pace with innovation alongside a rapidly changing, multidimensional society. Research will need to address the diversity in populations to truly embody being not only nationally representative, as the term is historically defined, but to capture the diversity of the ubiquitous consumer.
Hyper-segmentation will become vital as research moves from simply defining key attributes of a person – such as age, social class, wealth, gender and the like – to creating unique insights relevant to consumers as individuals.
Research needs to follow the complexity of society and consumer behavior so that it can deliver the information brands need to make key decisions in how they market their products and services. Technology, driven by innovation in artificial intelligence, can capture this complexity – and market research organizations must harness this power to deliver agile, responsive insights about consumers that enable brands to remain relevant to their customers.
Democratization of research
2022 will be the year to truly drive democratization because the technology is there to enable it.
There’s a common misperception that democratization of research means the simplification of insights. This is not the case. When we say democratization of research, we mean making detailed data available in a simplified manner and in a seamless way to any business or brand. This means that even the most junior members of an organization’s marketing team can be informed by easily available research that they can interact with, respecting the integrity of methodology, but at scale.
There is still this notion that research in the B2B market is for experts. In fact, we’re currently in a situation where the consumer has access to more data than, for example, a brand manager. Consumers simply utilize Google or ask friends for their opinion online.
We’ve witnessed a democratization of consumer opinion and user-generated content online, but this has yet to be replicated in the business world. In 2022, as research continues to be technology-driven against the backdrop of constantly changing consumer sentiment, the industry must democratize research within the enterprise, giving marketing and brand teams the ability to access automated research at scale that can inform key decisions.
The multidimensional consumer
Today’s consumer is complex and multifaceted. Real and relevant insights are no longer solely about a person’s geographic location, job role or opinions on societal changes. It’s about understanding that a consumer can have several different “individualities.” For example, a person can be passionate about sustainable living. They might grow their own food, reuse plastic and drive a Tesla, while, at the same time, enjoy holidays in Barbados – which involves traveling thousands of miles via plane, one of the world’s biggest polluters.
How can we reflect these different and complex facets of the consumer in research?
The industry must focus on how we can give organizations the ability to capture three, four or even five dimensions of the same individual or group of individuals. This is especially important as we move into the next-generation internet – a 3D sequel called the metaverse that has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop and the way brands market their products.
The future of market research
The industry is set for profound transformation in the next year. Market research will become the medium of choice for brands to co-create consumer-centric strategies, embedding the intelligence of the researcher in technology through automation.