As 2018 stretches new and unblemished before us, it’s important to consider the ways in which the market research world can be affected by changing civic dynamics, as well as continuing adherence to those strategies designed to foster better consumer understanding and engagement. While 2017 was a year dedicated to Big Data, 2018 will be the year dedicated to the “right data.”
Here are the top four market research trends we think will be prominent in 2018:
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Big Data exists, and it’s not going anywhere. 2018, though, will be the year to hone in on the data that truly matters. Gathering and interpreting data through machine learning and the artificial intelligence that it offers will enable automated systems to be developed that will better uncover the motives behind consumer behaviors. With machines creating systems to gage emotional responses, predict behaviors and display insights in real-time, businesses will be more prepared than ever to make meaningful decisions.
Research Shifts to Science
Because of the sheer volume of information that will continue to be uncovered through various new methodologies (including ML, AI, automation, social media, mobile devices, etc.) more and more market researchers will need to become true data scientists. No longer will it be enough to collect data sets, market research professionals will need the computational skills to draft algorithms that identify patterns and predict trends. They will need to move from being static information collectors to dynamic storytellers competent in statistical and scientific discovery. Of course, many researchers already do this in isolated areas, but 2018 will see data science informing market research, which in turn will inform more data science, in a continuous loop for even greater competitive advantage.
Design Moves from Top Down to Down Up
Traditionally, market research has sought the insights needed to bring an already established product to market: a product would be fashioned, research would be conducted on the people and place needing said product, and viola, the product would be introduced to those people in that location. It was basically a top-down approach with a company determining the “what” and “when” for consumers. But with Millennials rising to prominence and wielding 3.39 trillion in spending power, businesses in 2018 will need to focus on drawing them in to the fold. And traditional marketing strategies don’t work for Millennials. According to a study by The McCarthy Group, 84% of them shun conventional advertising methods. They don’t want to be told what to do; they want to be asked. Social media, the Internet and other interactive devices have prompted the “new consumer” to expect that his voice will be heard. 2018 will see businesses listening to consumers before making major decisions or creating new products. Market research will become an interactive catalyst for product development rather than an indicator for already established goods.
Also because of the rise of the Millennial, the market research world will see a proliferation of Do-It-Yourself research options in 2018. Millennials have grown up in a world with information at their fingertips. They’ve shared and retrieved data on social media. They want to actively participate. They don’t want to observe. They hold their own expertise in high regard and question edicts, as well as unsolicited advice and instruction. It makes sense that market researchers develop products targeted to people wanting to work on their own.
With impending tax reform and economic change, as well as the continuing growth of artificial intelligence and the rise of the Millennial, 2018 will be an exciting year for market research professionals and the businesses needing their assistance. If you’re thinking of harnessing data to increase ROI this year, contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR). We will be happy to help you uncover the knowledge you need for a successful 2018!
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