Change is happening at an ever-increasing speed, leaving many wondering what marketing research and insights will look like in the coming months and years. In order to get a sense of how industry leaders – both new and veteran – are feeling about the future, I reached out to the finalists of the 2021 Outstanding Young Researcher and Fearless Leader awards and asked them to share their thoughts. 

In this article I will discuss a few of the key points shared by the participating finalists, including overarching themes found in their answers to the questions: What roles will marketing research and insights play in the future? How will the industry change? 

There was remarkable continuity among finalists’ responses. But what caught my attention the most was how each called out the role of research and insights in creating greater certainty around plans for the future – perhaps driven by individuals and companies around the world seeking a sense of normalcy or predictability lost when the pandemic began.  

“The diagnostic and predictive function of market research and insight will stay strong, with more and more emphasis placed on predictability in an ever-changing marketplace,” says Dobrinka Vicentijevic, EyeSee Research, finalist for the Fearless Leader award. 

Given this, it’s no surprise that a majority of the researchers interviewed see a bright future for research and insights. Most pointed to recent global-scale challenges as a significant turning point for how organizations view the industry, emphasizing the importance of making data-driven decisions. 

“Consumer behavior changed overnight,” says Sarah Kotva, Fieldwork, finalist for the Fearless Leader award. “Humans, experiences and our surroundings are ever changing and it’s vital to product and service success to keep a finger on the pulse.”

Diego Adolfo Chávez Terrazas, EyeSee, finalist for the Fearless Leader award, r...