The ESOMAR Online Research Conference in Berlin wrapped up this afternoon with recognition of the promise of new opportunities moderated by the tension created by them.
While there are many reasons to be excited about the future, the industry is at an inflection point, and that means change. Change is difficult. Change produces tension. A major thread running throughout this conference was the tension in the market research industry and how we can begin to resolve it.
- There is tension between the respondents’ right to privacy and the industry’s desire to access and use data. Though this tension is pervasive, it is particularly acute with social media. Where does the respondents’ right to privacy end and where does the researchers’ privilege to listen and analyze begin?
- There is tension between communities and panels. Communities are active and interesting and produce fast research results for the expected and unexpected. Panels are on-demand, cost effective and targeted. Is there room for both in our industry, or better yet, in our budgets?
- There is tension between the promise of new technology and the technology’s ability to deliver. Online research software has improved dramatically. Quantitative survey software is becoming fairly standard. Online qualitative research software is getting better and easier every day. However, in the “hot” issues of social media and mobile research, the technology promises tremendous research opportunities. How long must we wait until the technology catches up with the promise?