It’s no secret that research technology is revolutionizing the way that brands collect consumer insights. In fact, a new study from Toluna has revealed that marketing and insights professionals plan to increase the number of research technology platforms they use going forward.
However, there’s also a growing demand to make the research process simpler. While data quality and speed of insights remain important, a user-friendly experience and easy-to-use research outputs are just as critical. As the demand for full-service research wanes, insights professionals are not just looking for new research platforms – they’re looking for technologies that make their lives easier.
Market research is crucial for businesses of all sizes, across all sectors. Whether it’s deciding how and when to market a new product, determining a specific buyer need, or targeting a certain demographic, data-driven insights are key to informing strategic business decisions. Thanks to the advancements in research technologies, market research is now more accessible, and more cost effective, providing access to data-driven insights in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks or months.
Market Instability Affects Research Budgets
Market instability over the past two years have demonstrated that changes and disruptions are the rule rather than the exception. According to Toluna’s Agile Research Landscape report, which surveyed 395 insights and marketing professionals from 25 different industries and 14 global markets, these disruptions are affecting the way marketing and insights professionals conduct research.
With consumer sentiment constantly shifting in response to major events, it’s becoming more difficult to stay on top of changing trends and behaviors. The research findings reinforce this: When it comes to the budget allocation for research, one area rose above the rest. Nearly a third (31%) of marketing and insights professionals are putting their budget toward market understanding research, ahead of new product development (NPD), brand, and comms. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, with 58% of respondents expecting to increase their market understanding budget going forward – again, ahead of NPD, brand, and comms research budgets.
Tech Evolution in the Market Research Landscape
As research technologies rapidly evolved over the past several years, marketing and insight professionals have been faced with a dilemma: pressure to conduct more research, faster, while dealing with ever-decreasing budgets.
This combination of factors is shifting the focus away from full-service research and towards the increasingly popular DIY research. In fact, 64% of marketing professionals expect to increase their use of DIY research platforms within the next one to two years, Toluna found. Assisted service is also expected to experience a net increase in usage, while full service will see a downturn.
As the shifting landscape and budget constraints force change in how research is conducted, marketing and insights professionals will increase their reliance on research technology platforms. Half of respondents said they currently use two or three tech platforms to support their market research needs, and 54% expect to increase their number of research technology platforms going forward.
Not only are they open to research technology, but they’re open to new tools, too. Over a third (37%) of respondents said they will start using artificial intelligence in their research, aiming to process large quantities of unstructured data at high speeds. Over four in 10 (43%) said they will increase their use of online qualitative research.
A Call for Simplicity
Despite the increasing adoption of research technology platforms, marketing and insights professionals stress that simplicity is of the utmost importance. This is especially true when it comes to areas such as training, platform ease of use, and data integration.
When asked about their largest priorities in their day-to-day roles over the next few years, the majority (66%) of marketing and insights professionals cited scalability as the No. 1 area of importance. They also cited training on tech platforms (62%), easy-to-use tech platforms (55%), and quality of panel data (54%) as other key areas.
They also reported a need for platforms that deliver the high-quality data and insights to support business decisions. More than six in 10 (63%) respondents said that integration of different data sources will be important to their roles in the coming years.
As insights professionals navigate internal change – whether that be through employee turnover or financial ebbs and flows – they need technology that makes their lives simpler.
Ron Ruffinott is head of research, Americas, at Toluna.