Blogger’s Park: From insight to foresight

Digital is changing the expectations from market research

The increasing importance of direct to consumer offers has been one of the developing trends.
The increasing importance of direct to consumer offers has been one of the developing trends.

By Jennifer Hubber

All through 2022, market research continued its acceleration along the path of transformation towards an increasingly digital, technology-enabled, multisource data-driven industry. The tendency gained momentum in the post-pandemic era as we learnt how fast things can change.

All along the year successful companies have strived to genuinely put themselves in the shoes of their multi-faceted consumers in order to drive business more effectively through meaningful innovations, relevant communication and focused retail and media activation.

Looking ahead, one of the trends that has been developing for some time and was further highlighted by the pandemic years is the increasing importance of direct to consumer offers, along with the convergence and morphing roles of online and offline touchpoints and the blurring of boundaries between retail and media channels as retailers increasingly take the role of advertisers. For market researchers this will mean evolving the way we test and measure the effects of marketing and communication initiatives, with new flexible approaches.

With the expectation of what has been called a “polycrisis” to continue over the next year, with the only certainty being uncertainty, the need to develop the ability to do scenario planning, moving from insight to foresight will be a strong requirement.

To tackle the many questions about the future that they are faced with, companies will need to identify possible alternative futures and prepare a plan for each of them so as to be able to quickly shift gears when and as needed. This is another type of engagement that we expect to see growing further in 2023.

Finally, demonstrating the impact of insights and the return on investment of market research will be high on the agenda in 2023.

The worry around a polycrisis is leading a number of companies to be cautious in their budgeting and some may even be tempted to reduce investments in market research. This is of course a bad idea. It has been proven over and over again that the companies who continue to stay close to people, investigating the changing moods and motives of their customers during times of crisis, are the ones who emerge more successful, gaining brand equity and market share.

Market research and insight functions have a unique opportunity to continue to drive consumer understanding with a seat at the table in companies’ strategic decision making but they will need to be mindful of associating their unique contribution to concrete business outcomes.

The author is global chief client officer, head of Ipsos Global Client Organisations

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First published on: 01-03-2023 at 10:31 IST
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