Editor's note: Shelley Krasnick is vice president, marketing effectiveness at GfK. Josh Billig is market research manager at Microsoft.

In some ways, inclusion – from a statistical vantage point – has been on the minds of insights professionals for decades. Representation has been a mark of quality in research of all kinds, assuring that all voices are counted in proportion.

But inclusion has now evolved into a much broader concern, one that has grown well beyond sample sizes and population counts. Brands need to recognize and meet the needs of all types of consumers – ethnically diverse, differently abled and with a strong preference for certain modes and devices for communicating. Researchers need to take on this newly expansive definition as both a mission and a mandate; if getting representation right was complex before, it has grown even more challenging – and more important.

First and foremost, we would not claim that we have solved, once and for all, any of the myriad challenges around inclusivity in research. This is a journey, not a single destination, and we share our experience to date in that spirit. Everyone has something to contribute and companies throughout the insights industry will continue to learn from and improve on each other’s work. Inclusivity is not something any one company – or even pair of companies – can conquer alone but we are making strides.

Three of the areas where Microsoft and GfK have collaborated over the last several years are all top-of-mind for insights professionals today:

Our journey to be mobile-first actually started back in 2018. It doesn’t fit into the traditional definition of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) but when we were putting this story together, we recognized that device usage is an important place to begin talking about inclusivity. GfK Consumer Life data shows that 75% of Americans age 15+ used a smartphone in the past 30 day...