The future of marketing research

Editor’s note: Frédéric-Charles Petit is the founder and CEO of Toluna.

2022 was another turbulent year for businesses around the world. Despite having emotionally moved on from COVID-19, the ripple effects of the pandemic continue to severely impact businesses. Between supply chain disruptions, skyrocketing inflation, political instability and the war in Europe, it really is a time like no other in our recent history. 

Confronted with major disruption after major disruption, brands have been forced to adapt to their ever-changing circumstances – continually adjusting their offerings to align with what consumers want and when they want it. It is only by understanding evolving consumer sentiment and market understanding through research – tech-driven, agile, scalable research – that businesses can truly keep their finger on the pulse. As we look ahead, Toluna’s Frédéric-Charles Petit shares his thoughts on what we can expect from market research this year.

Entering the age of curation 

In 2023, we will see research become fully immersed within business processes allowing marketers and researchers to easily and rapidly generate real-time, accurate insights. To enable this, the key objective will be to create a platform specifically curated for research. To create this next wave of transformation in the marketing research sector, it will require the strategic combination of technology, audience segmentation, the proper use of data and the intelligence of research experts. Only then can we properly embed research into businesses to generate agile, relevant insights at scale.

Data ownership is on the rise

Some have suggested that the age of the survey data is over. Well, not quite yet. Opinion has never been more important than it is now, especially at a time when the amount of data revealing attitudes is higher than ever. But understanding ‘why’ is key and asking is the only way to know. Brands will increasingly rely on research to inform their decisions on the products and services they offer. Insights will also advise them on how to market their products to audiences and communicate with them accordingly – through the right medium at the right time.

In 2023, data ownership will become paramount. Not just for regulatory reasons, but because of the power of opinions. With news about GAFA ring-fencing the access of data, we’ll see first-party data become increasingly important to decision-making. This is where the ability to ask questions and get answers becomes critical again. By combining first-party data with consumer insights, brands can understand consumer intentions, behaviors and attitudes without needing to rely solely on third-party data. When you combine the two, you have a much greater picture of the consumer. While automation is vital, it cannot be successful without the right data feeding into it. The powerful strategic combination of technology and data access – curated by insights experts – will prosper the most in 2023. 

Business growth is fueled by accessible and agile research

To make research fully accessible to everyone within an organization it must be easy to interpret and understand. Thanks to continued innovations in research technology, organizations are not only able to gather more data, but they’re also able to easily analyze it and use those insights to inform strategic business decisions. Because of these continued advancements, brands will be able to fully integrate research into their daily marketing activities.

Through agile, on-demand research that delivers easily digestible data, organizations can better understand the changing sentiments of their consumers now and into the future. By doing this, they’ll be able to forge stronger customer relationships, adjust their product or service offerings to better suit their customers’ needs and reinforce the health of their brand.

It’s clear that we operate in a world where strategic five-year plans are less relevant. Organizations cannot plan the same way for the long-term when instability has become the norm. They can only prepare themselves to respond to a quickly changing environment. Rapid advancements in consumer insights technology present a big opportunity to businesses during such a challenging time through the provision of accurate market understanding – quickly and at scale. Although 2023 will undoubtedly bring the unexpected, what we know for certain is that research will offer brands growth through the delivery of real-time, high-value insights. More than ever, the power of understanding people’s opinions can help shape the future.