Below, you will find a selection of our editors’ favorite articles from the last year. It was a challenge to narrow our lists down to just these few as we’ve been on the receiving end of so many quality submissions that we were proud to publish! 

If you’re interested in submitting an article in 2023, visit or e-mail today! 

Editors’ choice articles 2022 

(listed in no particular order) 

How marketing research can benefit – and benefit from – the quality function

The quality function presents a large opportunity for enhanced research and impact for both customer insights and market research. Many readers may roll their eyes at that statement and either think, “Old news!” or “Not much there.” You will be wrong in a majority of organizations because the quality profession is undergoing a radical reinvention of itself. It is just now starting to recognize how customer experience has changed its mandate and data needs. Read more. 

Capturing insights through visual research

In marketing and insight research, more and more attention is given to visual materials, both due to the fact that part of everyday life is performed on social media, where images are crucial, and also because it has been widely recognized that we are – at least in the West – a highly visual society, in which images and visual inputs invade and influence many aspects of our lives. Read more. 

Understanding personas within B2B CX

CX is different in the world of B2B. The customer journeys you are creating vary widely when the general consumer isn’t the focus. B2B “customers” can range from CMOs and sales reps to distributers and customer service reps, and each have their own set of vastly different goals, requirements and customer journeys. That’s why creating personas is so critical. Personas serve as a powerful tool to help teams empathize with their customers and design products, services, processes, communications and journeys on behalf of the customer need, regardless of how varied those needs may be. Read more. 

Providing reliable satisfaction scores for low survey response geographies

Microsoft’s Customer and Partner Experience (CPE) Relationship study is one of the largest satisfaction tracking programs in the world. It surveys Microsoft’s customers and partners – from small businesses to global enterprise companies. It’s offered in 45 languages, spans over 170 countries and generates almost 100,000 responses in a six-month period. Read more. 

Adopting AI into market research

Artificial intelligence is not just a buzzword. AI tools accelerate market research and transform online survey methodologies into forward-thinking insights. 

Recently the market research sector has seen an emergence of AI tools. These tools can change the market research game, but first, we need to understand how to use them. Read more. 

The dirty secret of the research world?

One evening last summer, I was doing some freelance work, supporting a director-level researcher with a significantly sized project. After the fieldwork was finished, I commented on how tired he seemed. Not just “after fieldwork” tired, but really, totally exhausted. He brushed it off, but said “Yeah, I guess the last few months have been pretty relentless. I work almost every weekend just to stay on top of things.” Quite suddenly, he broke down in tears. Unfortunately for him, he had to pull it together quickly, because although it was already 10 p.m., we were meeting the clients at 10:30 p.m. to go through our initial findings. I should also mention that it was a Friday night. And not only that, he was viewing international fieldwork the next day – Saturday – at 6 a.m. This had become the norm in his working life. Read more. 

Qualitative research and the decline of the conversation 

A client who was new in their role called me recently to say they were confused because a moderator on our team was not asking questions in the same order during each in-depth interview they conducted. They said, “You know, it feels like it’s a conversation rather than research.”

It took me a moment to process before I calmly replied, “Thank you for the feedback, it sounds like they’re doing exactly what a qualitative research consultant is supposed to be doing!” Read more. 

Improving how we measure basic demographics

Demographic questions like age, gender and income are the bedrock of market research. We rely on them to target audiences, set quotas, purchase sample and ensure our research is representative. They are, in effect, a trading currency for the market research industry.

Yet there are no standards for how we measure them, with methods varying between market research companies and between countries. Anyone mixing sample from different sources can rarely be confident of getting a comparable spread. This also makes it difficult to reliably compare data between surveys. Read more. 

Yes, qualitative research can be agile 

Qualitative research is sometimes thought to be too difficult to conduct, too expensive to afford and take too long to deliver. But we have found that our work can be more valued by our clients if we resolve these three pain points – without sacrificing quality.

By accelerating the research process, costs and complications are reduced because elements that cannot be executed quickly have been eliminated. For example, use machine transcriptions (easy, cheap and fast!) instead of human transcriptions, because a detailed verbatim transcript is not necessary if you are writing a quick topline report. Read more. 

Microsoft shares advantages of the social satisfaction research method

Developing fresh, innovative ways to harness customer insight is a top priority for the Research + Insights (R + I) team at Microsoft. We are on a continuous quest to pioneer new ways of gathering timely, affordable, unbiased customer insights, which allow for quicker business decision-making. The social satisfaction methodology is an approach to understanding the voice-of-the-customer that can be applied across any products or services. This methodology leverages social media data, collected across various platforms (Twitter, Reddit, blogs/forums, customer reviews, etc.), that is then mined to understand the themes driving positive and negative experiences with Microsoft products and services in real-time. Read more. 

How the elements of story can enliven your research reports

Brain researchers made the research industry care about story. Before the functional MRI demonstrated how brains light up in response to story, storytelling was, using parlance of the game show “The $100,000 Pyramid,” in the category of “Interesting Skills My Job Does Not Require.” Researchers have been quick to reframe storytelling into the category “Necessary Skills to Communicate Insights.” Given this acceptance of – and even demand for – story, what’s been the challenge in moving from accepting storytelling to applying it? Paradoxically, it’s been myths about storytelling. Let’s replace those two of those story myths with story skills! Read more. 

Understanding your audience through customer experience

Many businesses compete primarily on the customer experience they are able to provide. Superior customer experience builds a foundation of trust and creates customers who are not only willing to pay more for the same products and services, but also eager to become brand ambassadors that will spread the word about your company. While it might be easy to see why customer experience is crucial to business success, figuring out how to improve it isn't as straightforward. Sure, you can apply industry best practices and utilize technologies to create a more positive customer experience, but you also need to know exactly what your audience wants in order to cater to their specific needs and improve customer loyalty. Read more. 

Employee advocacy: Improving experiences for employees and customers

Every successful business outcome benefits from having a reliable, flexible, actionable and amply proven template and improvement guide. This is as true for employee experience (EX) as customer experience (CX).

There is a clear path to greater, more progressive employee experience, insights and greater stakeholder centricity for any organization, and it begins with understanding the concept of experience improvement (XI) as it proceeds and matures. Read more.

MaxDiff: a countermeasure to the endemic cheating

An uncomfortable theme is beginning to dominate our industry, at least for those of us who draw sample from online panels.

It’s fraud.

Over time, we have had to shed our naivete around how cheaters cheat and how extensive the problem is. We have learned we must go out of our way with every online project to protect our data, our insights and our clients from falsehoods. The investment we are making to ensure clean data has risen dramatically over time, in proportion to the increasing fraud present, leading to this article. Read more. 

Shopping in the metaverse

Many of us have heard of the metaverse, but very few of us know what it is, let alone all the other acronyms of AR, VR, MR and XR that may be tossed into discussions about it. So, let’s start to unpack some of these terms in bite-size pieces, so we can begin to understand why we need to pay attention to the metaverse. Read more. 

The tensions driving the future of aging

In our Aging issue of What the Future magazine, we identify five tensions that will have an impact as they change over time – or if they don’t change. What do we mean by that? When we think about the future, one lens we like to use is ideological tensions. Humans are at the center of all of our work at Ipsos and foresight is no different. Macro forces drive change, to be sure. But our opinions, attitudes, behaviors and values will impact how we react to that change and shape the degree of the change itself in people, markets and society. Read more. 

How good research can help resolve the brand purpose conundrum

The heavyweights of marketing and branding love to battle over brand purpose. How should a brand communicate its purpose? How much do consumers care? How can we measure the impact on the bottom line? 

In the red corner, Byron Sharp, who warns that purpose will be “the death of brands.” In the blue corner, Peter Field, who labels such criticism “hysterical.” In a Marketing Week column this summer (“How bad research underpins the social purpose marketing debate”), Andrew Tenzer unleashed another buzzworthy haymaker, suggesting no reasonable person who looks at “the right kind of evidence” could possibly support purpose marketing. Read more.