Transition of Market Research to Digital Marketing and the Current Digital Marketing scenario
Facing rapid social, technological, and economic change, the traditional marketing research industry will either adopt new tools and talent, repositioning itself in a more strategic, consultative space, or it will fall into decline.
The rate of change in marketing research will accelerate as new entrants from the wider emerging marketing research insights industry (management consulting, customer relationship management [CRM], customer experience management [CEM], data mining, DIY desktop tools, predictive analytics, neuromarketing, social media analytics, prediction markets, and co creative digital consultants) converge with and redefine the traditional marketing research space.
Instead, the industry is likely to reposition, rebrand, and rename itself. It will shift focus from asking to observing, questioning to discussing, collection to analysis, insight to foresight, rational to emotional, large surveys to data streams, quarterly trackers to 24/7 insights communities, geographically fixed to mobile, siloed to converged, cognitive self-reporting to precognitive neuro sensing, and project-based work to engagement-based consulting. It will find ways to integrate itself across the strategic decision-making process, will help its clients pull insights from disparate data streams, will aggressively leverage foresight tools, will be nimble, and will make speed a core competence by fully leveraging the 24-hour global clock.
Drawbacks of traditional market research
The traditional market research industry as per ESOMAR estimates is nearly $30 billion in size and follows the research principles of focus groups, surveys and a skill set focused on project management, questioning, and statistical analysis. A lot of this research is done based on primary research data collection processes which involve asking for information from the relevant populations, collecting, structuring and analysing the information. The organizing framework in this epoch was the survey, especially the quarterly tracking survey, a product on which many of the larger firms still depend. The traditional marketing research industry has many positive qualities, but it and the asking epoch, in which it flourished, have several significant weaknesses. These include a dependence on self reported behavior; a focus on the present and past; limited ability to engage subjects in a protracted, co creative dialogue; and a reliance on periodic, as opposed to continuous, reporting. These weaknesses have left the traditional marketing research industry open to significant competition from the wider insights industry.
In contrast, the emerging marketing research industry includes new entrants from management consulting, social media, software, and business intelligence that are increasingly providing insight-driven consulting in competition with traditional marketing research. The wider insights industry was created in the information age. It surrounds traditional marketing research with next-generation technologies and firms defined by observation and listening.