It’s almost facetious to say we’re living in challenging times. We have rarely seen a more uncertain outlook as the one in front of us heading into 2023. So, what should we be doing as an industry to help the businesses we work in and for, succeed over the coming years?

One commonly made argument in tough times is that the businesses that succeed will be those that talk to their customers more. It’s an argument that seems to hold weight, with the most recent example being Covid where, despite never-before-seen disruption, the market research sector continued to grow.

However, we cannot rest on our laurels. Now is the time for market research agencies and client-side researchers to face into the challenges that are coming, and these challenges come from inside our sector, as well as from the obvious external factors.

Here are three things that should be front and centre of our collective efforts in 2023.

Making market research a career of choice for new joiners and seasoned Experts alike
(energising our people)

With ‘the great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’ casting a shadow over modern working we think there’s a great opportunity to make market research an aspiration, not just a choice. For us at Verve it is about energising our people. That means:

  • Enabling great talent to work from wherever they are. If people have the talent, passion, experience let’s not make geography a determinant of whether they work with us
  • Adapting working models to ensure the best people can work with us on their terms. This isn’t just about remote, hybrid or reduced hours schemes. It’s about establishing where there is mutual value and then working with individuals to create scenarios that fit their individual circumstances
  • Investing in training while giving our young generation all the exposure, opportunity, and responsibility they need to succeed. Training should be the bedrock of how we develop people, but we also need to proactively look for opportunities to stretch our talent. Our newer generation should also lead the way in terms of engaging younger people in research.

Our newer generation should also lead the way in terms of engaging younger people in research.

Helping our clients deliver bolder, breakthrough insight
(energising our clients)

We spend a lot of time as an industry talking about activation. While methods of communication are hugely important, we also think our insight needs to be bolder – impossible to ignore. For us this is about:

  • Research that draws on more data. The amount of data we have access to grows every day. It’s our job to be able to understand how we can get to it and how we should use it. We need to trust established methods, while being obsessively open to new ideas. We then need to bring it all together, creating projects that learn from social and cultural cues, primary research, transactional data, and unstructured feedback, in an integrated way
  • Creating insight ecosystems. We should all be thinking about how individual insight programmes (and the agencies who run them) interact with and benefit one another. Insight communities (a favourite of ours so we had to get it in somewhere) and CX programmes are a perfect example, where an integrated approach is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Working smarter not (always) harder. Budget challenges mean it is more important than ever for us to make sure we’re investing our time and our clients’ money in the right places.

Helping our industry thrive
(energising our industry)

Having just gone through a period of huge disruption and change we know that our industry, and the people in it, are ready for the challenges ahead. We think it’s important we face into (run towards?) these challenges. Here are few that stand out to us:

  • Getting the foundations right. Our work lives or dies on the quality of the people we talk to – we need to be more concerned than ever with making sure our research is speaking to the right people
  • Helping our clients see round corners. Innovation will be hugely important over the coming years. We need to be ready to help our clients answer the tough questions – what’s ‘the future of…’
  • Standing up for the multitude of ways we add value. Whether it’s identifying emerging trends, getting the customer voice in the room for even the tightest of turnarounds, or developing new ways of interpreting big data, we need to be known as the way that businesses connect with their customers.

We know that disruption and change is coming, and we know that not all of it will feel positive in the short term. At the same time, we’re excited to be part of an industry that thrives on change and look forward to working with our clients.

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