The last Esomar Congress in Edinburgh, with the theme ‘Transformation’, was promising. As program Director of the previous edition, it was a pleasure to see that the message from the previous edition had landed: Take the bull by the horns, start integrating new and disruptive things step by step. Where the presentations in a previous edition included quite a bit of traditional research with some hints of innovation, this edition was filled with cases that proved that we are in full transformation.
On the one hand, we saw a lot of cases where data was key, and how AI, automation and dashboarding help to make better decisions based on existing data. It is clear that Data Science is the new gold in our industry. And that the industry is much broader than we think. Atypical sectors such as IT are active in our domain, and they too use data science to provide insights.
On the other hand, the ‘blending’ of different research techniques and methods is increasingly becoming the ‘new normal’; In function of the research and business question, a mix of methods and techniques is used, e.g. combining passive measurement with survey data and so on. More and more we see that a traditional survey is used for basic questions only and that other (sometimes more exact) sources are used to provide additional information. This gets also reflected in industry figures from the Global Market Research Report 2019: traditional techniques and methods are shrinking, while other sources of data and insights are rising over the years.
Our industry is in the midst of a transition. ‘Old’ traditional research techniques (quantitative questionnaires, qualitative IDI’s and focus groups, accompanied shopping trips,…) are under pressure and new profiles and competences are mixed to achieve better insights.