The following are notes from Ray Poynter’s closing conference keynote. There will be errors in the notes due to limited editing.:
A video interview with Ray is included below
Rate of change today is only to get faster than it is now.
Over the next five years: The share of the total research pie conducted by large agencies and insight departments will fail with more new alternatives being available.
- Automation will lead to larger number of jobs disappearing, and some new ones being created
- More research will be conducted than ever before – but will be hard to define
- Research will become faster cheaper and in some cases better
- research will become more about impact and less about error reduction
Drivers of change
Customer-centricity – companies have lost any other ways of winning, other than customer-centricity. Product differentiation has disappeared, logistic advantage is disappearing too – this leaves customer-centricity.
What is brand loyalty? When you buy a brand when rationality says you shouldn’t.
Tech – social, mobile, location – gig economy. Started with Ebay when you could sell your stuff online. All based on the mobile devices – mostly smartphones. New routes to insight – when Panama Canal it meant things could be delivered faster. Tech is also making things quicker. Can bring new thinking from behavioural economics.
Big Data – stealing a lot of budget.
Automation and AI – will change the type of industry, fewer people in the industry (less phone interviewers for example), but in future will mean fewer creative people too. Sometimes bots are writing storie.
Democratization of Insight: Customers are expressing views, want to be heard and involved – seizing power from the outside. Companies don’t want to go to insights department, want to hear directly from customers.
Market research companies will only become large if they add a lot of skills.
Bifurcation of skill and automation.
Market research will go from a cost centre to a revenue centra – example, ESPN and Barnes & Noble are sharing insight revenue.
The consequences of change
- Democratization of insight – great when we can use ATMs, and Netflix, seems great, but not when it happens to market research. For example, largest amount of research taking place on Survey Monkey platform.
- A skill, rather than an industry.
- Separation of the skilled and the automated.
- New opportunities — especially if you want to be an entrepreneur
- From a cost centre to a revenue centre
Advice – Thriving on change
- Getting closer to customers – ethnographers and qualitative researchers have always done this, but quant researchers need to do this as well
- Integrate with the rest of the business, and listen to the language that the rest of the organization uses such as finance, HR, new product development, not just imposing MR language
- Be an automation winner, not an automation loser
- Be an improvement enabler
- Use market research as your edge – get involved in other parts of the organization, and use market research there as an advantage
- Learn a new skill each year