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This post is contributed by Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark, Burtch Works’ marketing research and consumer insights recruiting specialists.

Over the past few years, we’ve reviewed marketing research and consumer insights hiring market trends as part of our annual salary report (you can read our 2017 and 2018 trend posts to learn more).

Since we always have such thought-provoking conversations with the research and insights professionals we work with, we thought it’d be fun to ask our network what trends they’re most interested in! We’ve posted the results below, but if you want to learn more about these trends and how you can adapt to change, check out our short video.

We kept the survey simple with just one multiple-choice question, with the option to write in with another answer if there was something we didn’t include.

Which ONE research & insights trend are you the most excited about?
  1. Biometric techniques (EEG, eye tracking, facial coding, etc.)
  2. Social listening
  3. VOC/customer experience
  4. In-context/ethnographic qualitative research
  5. Mobile research
  6. Data visualization/dashboards
  7. Other (something we didn’t mention? Let us know!)

Out of the hundreds of responses we collected, Voice of the Customer/Customer Experience received the most votes, with Data Visualization coming in second. Responses were fairly well spread out, with no single category having greater than 25% of the votes. We also received a wide range of write-in responses which we’ll discuss later in this post.

 

Increasing focus on Voice of the Customer and Customer Experience

Since different industries are utilizing and applying VOC in a myriad of ways, we’ve found that many researchers have a slightly different perspective on what this means. Recently we’ve seen an increase in positions requiring VOC experience, which often include companies within hospitality, retail, QSR/restaurant or other service-oriented industries who want to better understand their customer experience, connect with their customers, and provide the best service possible.

Data Visualization and Mobile Research trending for research suppliers

When we separated the sample into client- vs. supplier-side firms, the results were similar, although we did notice that data visualization and mobile research were slightly higher among supplier-side professionals when compared to those on the client side.

Data visualization can be a great way for research suppliers to showcase their findings and recommendations to clients. Tools like Tableau and PowerBI, or other interactive and engaging ways to display research, can really help bring the data and story to life, as well as differentiate the firm from their competition.

Mobile research is a critical tool for many, especially on the supplier-side. The ability to reach consumers on their own time or when they’re on the go, has helped researchers today increase potential respondent touch-points as well as continue to evolve the offerings they’re able to provide for their clients.

Eyes on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for the future

When taking a look at the ”other” responses we received, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques garnered the most attention among marketing researchers. Organizations are just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to these areas, but researchers are excited about the possibilities and how it may impact the future of research.

Several researchers shared their hopes for what these new technologies could contribute to the industry. Here’s a snapshot of what researchers are saying:

“I’m thinking a lot about AI lately. There will definitely be some good coming out of AI, most likely in our industry as being able to perform the more mundane/junior jobs, though obviously with that we could see contraction in our space. The positive/exciting side for me will be to see how we/I continue to try to add value that hopefully isn’t touched by AI for many years to come.”

Ed Chiaramonte, Director of Client Management at Kantar Millward Brown

 

“Machine learning and AI. Excited about the efficiencies it can produce. I believe it has the promise to focus researchers on what we do best – develop insights from data – and away from time consuming, logistical tasks.”

Charles Framularo, Director, Market Research Services at E Source

 

How Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Professionals Can Adapt to New Technologies

With the increasing number of new technologies and techniques that have been changing the research landscape over the past few years, you may find yourself wondering how to keep up! Here are a few tips on how to make sure you’re keeping your skills as marketable as possible in an ever-changing market, which we cover in greater detail in our video.

  1. Make sure you’re learning new techniques!

While you don’t need to learn every shiny new research technique that comes around, we do recommend trying to gain exposure to new tools as much as possible, especially if you notice something gaining popularity in your particular industry.

  1. Keep an eye on emerging trends

Even though you may not be able to become an expert in everything, at the very least, make sure you’re aware of new research techniques as they become available to keep a pulse on industry trends.

  1. Call out a variety of techniques on your resume

If you have experience with a wide range of tools and methodologies – make sure to highlight that on your resume! Showcasing your range and ability to quickly pick up new things can add serious value to your skillset.

 

Overall, it’s an exciting time to be a researcher with so many emerging technologies on the horizon, but it’s important to keep learning throughout your career to stay up-to-date. Thanks again to all who participated in our survey, and if you’d like to join the conversation, feel free to add a comment below!

 

Interested in our salary research on marketing research professionals? Download our studies using the button below.

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We hope this information was interesting! Click here to check out the other research and insights blogs we’ve written, and be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn (Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark).

 

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