Surprise! Technology Considered Driver of Change in Market Research Industry

To celebrate its 25-year anniversary, Quirk’s posed a series of questions about how far market research has come—and where it’s headed— to a handful of industry veterans. The answers are published in the current issue. The consensus? Technology, technology, technology—and did we mention technology?

The experts agreed that technology has had the greatest influence (some negative, but mostly positive) on the industry, citing things like the Internet (hard to believe we ever lived without it, right?) and mobile phones.

But just as research companies are getting used to using the PC to conduct online qualitative research projects, participants are starting to prefer tools like smartphones and tablets. As Jay Mace of
Charleston, W.Va,-based McMillion Research puts it, “We must be prepared for the change or we will lose touch with the staple of our existence as researchers – the consumer opinion. We must meet consumers where they are.”

But that doesn’t mean embracing technology and all of the new tools available in the qualitative researcher’s toolbox just for the sake of using them. As Ron Sellers of Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research and Consulting explains, “We have so many more creative options for qualitative – video diaries, online picture sorts, mobile MR, etc. The challenge, as with any new tools, is learning to use them in a way that actually makes a difference, rather than just using them ‘cause they’re cool.’”

If you have the time, you should definitely read the whole article, which also covers the topic of “Where did we blow it?”

Finally, congratulations to Quirk’s on 25 years. We’re impressed…maybe because we turned 25 this year, too!

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