As Spring arrives, my time as a student in the MSMR program begins to wrap up.  In just the short amount of time I’ve been in the program, I have found an immense amount of value in being able to interview industry professionals that have agreed to speak to our class in our series of “In-Depth Interviews.” By conducting these interviews, I’ve had the chance to learn so much about the industry as it stands right now, as well as the direction in which it’s heading.  Being in the program has also introduced me to vast resources, such as the 2017 Q3-Q4 GRIT (Greenbook Research Industry Trends) Report, which has allowed me to delve even deeper into the world of marketing research.  In this blog, I will summarize the current and future trends described to me by experts in the market research industry compared to the information provided by the most recent GRIT Report, which was published this past January.

In an interview with Bob Yazbeck, Vice President of Digital Methods at Gongos, he described the market research industry as “tight-knit” where interconnectivity and partnerships exist between supplier-side and client-side researchers. He also explained that the ability to tell a story has been increasingly important as personal client relationships have become a greater necessity in maintaining business.  Alisha Strother, Head of Marketing Strategy and Planning at the NFL, emphasized the need to be innovative and industrious.  Pat Goodnight, Vice President of Precision Sample, described the present state of the market research industry as competitive and touched on the importance of being a storyteller as well as a problem solver.

How these industry professionals described the state of the industry translates well to what I found reading about current trends in the GRIT Report.  A contributor to the GRIT report states that, “While research suppliers are skilled at execution, clients continue to be dissatisfied with providers’ ability to make research relevant to the client organization (50).” A study then shows that recent buyers of insights services have rated their level of satisfaction with suppliers’ ability to report research results to be just 38%.  This reaffirms Yazbeck and Goodnight’s claim that utilizing storytelling skills is an increasingly important factor to maintaining clients.  Along with big data, storytelling and data visualization were seen as the biggest game changers in terms of industry trends to keep an eye out for (57).

Strother, in our interview with her, touched on how important it is for a market researcher today to be innovative and think outside the box.  What I found extremely fascinating was that the GRIT Report found technology/innovation to be considered the biggest challenge that is currently facing the industry.  Technology is evolving rapidly at exponential rates and client-side, as well as supplier-side, market researchers are forced to continuously adapt to new ways of conducting research (75).  It is extremely important for market researchers to take advantage of new and more efficient ways to gather data.  Traditional market research firms in the industry may need to find ways to adapt to these technical enhancements in the near future.

The GRIT Report is a wonderful resource to use to compare how one company might be adapting to the most current marketing research trends.  I was delighted to find out that a number of MSMR alumni contributed to the creation of the 2017 Q3-Q4 GRIT Report.  I hope to make equally important contributions to the world of marketing research as I move closer to starting my career.