The 5 Most Important Highlights from the GRIT Report

2017_q1_2_coverSince 2011, GreenBook has been publishing market research industry surveys to help researchers understand where the industry is, where it is going, and how they can adapt. The latest GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report is based on data collected in Q1 and Q2 of 2017. It includes 2,637 completed interviews of principally senior-level professionals from 74 countries.

In this report, GreenBook explores the most innovative research suppliers and buyers, issues surrounding automation, skills needed by future researchers, and industry benchmarks against which research organizations can measure their development and performance.

Here are key takeaways from the report about trends poised to shake up the industry:

  1. Constant innovation, competitive disruptions, and dynamic collaboration are shaping the future of the industry

The market research industry is in the midst of revolution as emerging technologies and new providers of research services continue to change the game. The “GRIT Top 50” ranks research suppliers that key industry players consider innovative, meaning the company offers technology that reduces cost while increasing speed, delivering actionable insights and overall quality.

The first interesting trend from the list is the rapid rise of technology-driven companies. Out of the 17 big movers, only Kantar and Nielsen are the exception. Their inclusion, however, is attributed to the fact that they are actively invested in introducing tech-driven products which help connect them to their technology-based cohort and increase awareness within the industry.

Second is automation that allows marketers to test new concepts more easily, enabling marketers and executives to develop more evidence-based decisions, speeding up the decision-making process. Combining speed with data-backed strategies better positions brands for growth.

Last is the ability of innovative companies to achieve quick-turn insights, making it easier to react to findings. Using solutions that allow for faster study, design and launch, and tapping data visualization and analytics to easily glean insights and react to findings are examples of how brands are empowered by shortening “the pathway between a brand’s problem and finding the solution.”

  1. Innovative research clients push for new research methods that dig deeper, and seek to use data and insights to disrupt markets

On the other side of the coin, the report also ranks users of market research on the same innovation scale. Comprising the top 10 are Unilever, Google, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Pepsico, P&G, Apple, Amazon, Nestlé, and Microsoft. Evidently, consumer packaged goods, soft drinks, online, and technology are the strongest sectors. While the list is relatively stable, as there are no huge changes compared to the previous report, in hindsight these companies are never satisfied with the status quo and are constantly finding competitive advantage by investing in new solutions—that’s why they’re at the top.

However, there are new companies included in the list and these are Netflix, Bai, Ford, and Merck. Netflix’s innovative use of data mining to create sure-win shows, Bai’s adoption of agile approaches to gain a prominent seat in the food and beverage industry, Ford’s investments in human-machine interaction and sonic signals, among others, to recapture its previous heights, and Merck’s strong research and development initiatives to lead the branded generics sector of the pharmaceutical industry are all considered innovative by the GRIT survey.

The report also interestingly sees the link between innovative research and value. The top five on Forbes 2016 list of the most valuable brands appear in the top ten of the GRIT’s innovative research buyers, emphasizing today’s importance of robust market research to stay relevant and competitive. These companies are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Facebook.

Lastly, a reflection of how leveraging technology and data impacts business growth puts Google in high regard almost universally. In fact, the market research industry in general considers creating the right mix of technology, data, and skills crucial to continue being relevant and providing value in the future.

  1. While automation is here to stay, there is an increasing need for humanizing brands and deepening consumer connection

Adoption of automation platforms continues to increase since the last GRIT report with more than 50% of both research suppliers and buyers already using the technology. In terms of categories, the top four are all quantitative in nature and have a long history of automation: analysis of survey data, charting and infographics, sampling, and survey design. The next two categories—analyzing social media and analyzing text data—however, are new areas in which researchers are trying to understand data that are traditionally processed qualitatively.

The report also reveals the nature of companies that are automating the most:

  • Survey platforms and survey software companies,
  • Companies with more than 500 employees,
  • Clients who will be spending less in 2017 than 2016,
  • Clients in the consumer staples category, and
  • Companies who think sample quality will improve.

Responding to present consumer behavior, analysis of text data, and analysis of images and videos are clearly high priorities for automation, most especially research buyers. While adopting automation is the trend, the biggest challenge for people automating market research is creating situations where automation leads to a change in the way research is done. Perhaps, since automation secures the process, researchers can focus on other aspects such as enhancing storytelling and client success—putting high-value consulting in the limelight.

  1. Soft skills such as critical thinking and insight development are essentials for future researchers to have

Across all industries, there is a widespread fear of job loss because of automation, and the market research industry is no different. However, as automation increases, there is a need for a strong set of skills that can translate vast amounts of data into actionable insights and expose the deeper meaning and significance of what is being expressed by the automated data.

To be able to critically assess information and utilize tools and techniques to provide high value insights about the consumer are exactly the skills that research suppliers and buyers are looking for. In fact, according the report, critical thinking is the most important skill required from Masters of Marketing Research program graduates, being rated very important by 73% of respondents, with six out of ten rating insight development skills as very important, and nearly as many rating writing and communication skills as very important.

Laura Livers, CEO, Focus Pointe Global, perfectly captures the trend, “As more and more of the process of conducting research, especially quantitative research and analytics, is shifted to tech-based solutions to answer the ‘who, what, when, where, and how’ of business questions, our view is that researchers will be always be the ones who answer the ‘why and now what?’”

Livers then concludes, “The integration of humans and technology in research is unavoidable, but as long as we stay focused on the importance of the human element as the driver of real value and impact, the research industry will continue to thrive.”

  1. Future success of a company as a research provider or consumer lays not only in technology but also prioritization and strategy

For both research suppliers and buyers, having an industry benchmark is important not only to ensure the quality of the research for individual business success but also to pave the way for further development of the industry as a whole. The GRIT report enumerates the key things that successful companies do to remain competitive:

  • Ensuring that the project delivers consultative recommendations, produces a clear storyline, and generates measurable ROI;
  • Applying best practices that interact regularly with senior stakeholders, focus on growth strategy, ensure all researches are aligned with business objectives, and use multiple sources to address business issues;
  • Implementing a technology strategy that has a robust, multi-approach and evolving model; and
  • Prioritizing quality of insights over speed, cost, and innovation.

An issue that the report mentions is the low importance given to consumer participation in research, even as they—the participants—are the heart of market research. It further recommends companies to start putting the respondent first by going “mobile first” in designing studies; staying under 10 minutes; thinking like game designers, marketers, or UI experts when designing research; rewarding respondents the way they want to be rewarded; and using research as a brand-engagement and relationship-building opportunity.

Technology together with demographic and socioeconomic factors makes consumer behavior and demands dynamic. In the same way, technology drives innovation that enables the consumer research industry to guide businesses with higher value consulting and insights that help them to successfully furnish what their consumers want. This is the competitive advantage the industry should harness to not only stay ahead of the game but also, and more importantly, to provide continuing value to all its stakeholders.

How Wizer Used A.I. to Complete a van Westendorp for $500

Conducting pricing research is an important step in uncovering the value that consumers place on products to discover the price range consumers are willing to pay for a product, service, or idea. It also gives organizations insight on how to increase revenue and convert market share by means of price optimization for proposed innovations, design changes, or concepts. Since marketing today is becoming more dynamic and consumer-centric, we aim to help our clients address rapidly changing consumer preferences that may affect pricing decisions—putting consumers at the heart of pricing research and ensuring that the price for a product or service is at the optimum point for all participants.

Van Westendorp Chart

A Dutch economist, Peter van Westendorp, introduced a simple tool for determining the optimal price for products (OPP) in 1976, called the van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter (PSM), the technique asks respondents four indirect questions about their willingness to pay and measures overall price sensitivity of consumers. In other words, it discovers, from actual consumers, prices for a product or service they perceive to be either too high, too low, or just right.

Access to the van Westendorp PSM can be expensive, not only because of its complicated nature but also because higher performing organizations will make use of the tool frequently to come up with up-to-date pricing structure based on shifting market landscape, product innovations, communications, and ever changing consumer perceptions.

Wizer makes pricing sensitivity research programs cost effective for everyone by using machine learning and algorithms to automate the research. Leveraging our technology, we could add the van Westendorp PSM as a turnkey service and provide this essential outlook on pricing as a part of our research offerings. This means clients seeking a pricing optimization tool can now “add to cart” this previously prohibitively expensive add-on – starting at only $500 per concept or tested product – and get results in days, not weeks.

A quantitative approach, the van Westendorp PSM method asks questions that characterize four price points — what is so cheap that you question quality; expensive, but acceptable; too expensive to consider; and cheap, but a fair deal. Plotting the answers to these questions aids in isolating the “optimum” range and price.

Even though the PSM defines an OPP, it is also important to consider the range of acceptable pricing which falls between the upper and lower price threshold. Prices within this range are accepted by the majority.

Conducting pricing research with van Westendorp PSM should be done on a regular basis as there are many factors affecting consumer perceptions, for example, when a competitor comes out with a new product or service that is cheaper or more expensive, or when there is a significant change to the overall consumer target.

With artificial intelligence, Wizer makes van Westendorp PSM more accessible for everyone. Using this technique, in addition to the company’s other knowledge resources, Wizer has provided insights regarding pricing strategies and guided clients not only in identifying the right prices but also in improving consumer perceptions in their markets.

CASE STUDY:

At Wizer, we applied the van Westendorp PSM in a concept test study conducted for a leading food manufacturer examining new food concepts and their ideal pricing points. The results show that the OPP is $7.30, and the optimal price range is between $6.57 and $10.90.

Van Westendorp Case Study

The van Westendorp PSM provides a data-driven method in determining the pricing strategy for a product or service. It is easy to implement and relatively simple to analyze. Moreover, as presented, it is useful in finding price thresholds and perceived normal prices.

Heatmaps: Can Your DIY Research Tool Do This?

In the past when you wanted to go beyond simple charts and rudimentary insights into something more robust, you had to leave behind the cost effectiveness of do-it-yourself (DIY) tools and hire a marketing research firm. In fact, one of the primary advantages of engaging a more traditional marketing research agency was in their ability to use sophisticated methodologies to get insights that cannot be uncovered when using a DIY approach.

At Wizer, we changed that. Today, we can deliver many competencies that once required custom work on behalf of the agency – at a fraction of the cost.

Heatmaps are a great example. This type of study that provides invaluable insights might have set you back $20-30k. Today, Wizer can deliver the same feedback far more economically.

heatmap

Above is an example for a heatmap study that we could have done for a well-known food brand found in any supermarket. The goal was to test new product label options for favorability. The data presented here is real, but we removed the client’s branding from the label to keep their information confidential.

In this example, we asked respondents to indicate what they liked about the label. As you can see from the heatmap, respondents liked the clear, bold description of the product, its flavor, and the fact that they use fresh, organic ingredients only. On the other hand, the brand name (which might be of some concern!) and fine print got less attention from participants. And the product visual added little value.

Wizer is committed to moving beyond merely diagnostics scorecards to offering prescriptive and actionable data that make deep consumer insights more accessible to more brands. In upcoming blog posts, we’ll present even more agile approaches and analytics that were once only available at top agencies and can now be affordably leveraged by everyone.

5 Trends That Are Reshaping Consumer Research

Knowing your market and listening to your customers are essential to the success of your business. Being in tune with your target’s preferences, motivations, and buying behavior enables you to adjust and tailor your products and services in ways that best suit them.

5 Trends That Are Reshaping Consumer Research

Success is a result of focus. Guessing risks wasting precious resources. Being a generalist does not make the most of your time, effort, and investments. Conducting consumer research, however, is a proven competitive knowledge advantage that takes you a giant step closer to achieving your business goals. Leveraging robust consumer research empowers you to create better products and services, satisfied and happier customers, and, of course, revenue and growth.

Investment in consumer research endows an organization with transformation as they face the challenges and opportunities brought by emerging technologies and changing consumer behavior. Research itself is responding to these transformations with its own adaptation and evolution. Here are five trends that are reshaping consumer research:

  1. Gathering new information from connected devices

From home systems that have information about users’ daily activities to in-store sensors that track a shopper’s movements, to wearable devices that monitor a body’s physical performance, International Data Corporation estimates the global spending on connected devices (more commonly known as the Internet of Things or IoT) to reach $1.29 trillion in 2020.

A vast network of physical objects utilizing embedded sensors, actuators, and other devices that can collect or transmit information about those objects, connected devices amass a colossal amount of data that can be used to analyze and, eventually, optimize products and services. With 30 billion units forecasted by 2020 (as identified by McKinsey & Co.), connected devices are a rich source of data and insights for consumer research.

Moreover, a 2016 Google survey revealed that more than one-fifth of people move back and forth between smartphones, tablets, and computers throughout the day. Fifty-seven percent use more than one type of device; while 21 percent use a computer concurrently with another device within the same hour at home.

To benefit from the rapid growth of connected devices, consumer research can be done by combining primary data with secondary data collected passively from the devices. This also makes it imperative that research designs are cross-platform friendly, as more people are using multiple devices to start and finish tasks.

  1. Enhancing data-driven actions with big data analytics and artificial Intelligence

One outcome of today’s fast-paced and digitally-connected world is the production of a tremendous amount of data. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being produced daily, “. . . 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.” Further, the big data market is expected to be valued at $53.4 billion this 2017.

In fact, big data is identified as a clear game-changer in market research by the most recent GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report. And a PwC survey revealed that 80 percent of Global CEOs say data mining and analysis is strategically important to their organization.

Simultaneously, this big data powers artificial intelligence (AI). The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies – published in collaboration with Scientific American — identified the technology of an open AI ecosystem as based on “shared advances in natural language processing and social awareness algorithms, coupled with an unprecedented availability of data.”

Consumer research leveraging the power of big data and AI enables the extraction of insights from both structured and unstructured data from all data sources at a faster pace. In fact, that is exactly what Wizer is doing. It analyzes business questions and provides fast, affordable, and in-depth market insights.

The results? More robust research that fosters intelligent and appropriate products and services that fit the needs of the market, enhances strategy concerning consumer behavior, and supports better data-driven decisions for the organization.

  1. Leveraging real-time insights and efficiency with automation

Consumers today are not only producing data at a rapid pace; they are also becoming more sophisticated. They are increasingly demanding a more personalized experience. At the same time, they are more open to switching to or trying out new products and services that immediately respond to their needs. This new face of consumers is challenging for businesses.

As a result, businesses are demanding not only better analysis and insights from customer data, but also wanting it at the tip of their fingers as swiftly as possible. This, then, enables businesses to quickly react to their consumers’ predilections of the moment.

With the volume of data being produced every day, manually analyzing this to produce useful and timely consumer insight for businesses has proven too big – perhaps impossible – a task for many. As a response, the same GreenBook GRIT Report identified automation as another clear game-changer in the market research industry.

“It’s how quickly we as an industry can keep up with the sentiment of the people we’re researching and the demands of our clients that will define our future,” noted Ben Leet, Managing Director of Instantly.

Automation provides efficiency and real-time insights. Consumer research stays more relevant when automation is combined with human filtering that emphasizes the quality of insights over their quantity. In fact, a previous GreenBook GRIT Report revealed that 57 percent of respondents use market research to answer important questions that cannot be answered with other data sources.

Automation liberates time that can be filled by the exploration of innovative and creative ideas that will eventually focus research time and effort on answering questions like “Why?”, “So what?”, and “What else?”

  1. Shifting focus to advanced technologies and new platforms

“We live in a world where people literally expect answers at their fingertips, and to find them, they’re turning to the nearest device,” noted the same Google survey. The device with the highest usage today is mobile. The survey revealed that 80 percent use smartphones in an average day, and 27 percent (or more than one in four users) only use a smartphone in the same timeframe.

In addition, videos are emerging as an increasingly popular form of communication and consumption. According to KPCB, online video accounts for 74 percent of all online traffic in 2017. It’s not only customers; even executives are consuming videos.

In a report published by Forbes, 65 percent of surveyed executives have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video. “Overall, executives notice ads that run alongside videos, and many are comfortable watching in-stream ads. [And] video-friendly younger executives are more comfortable with these ad formats.”

Another example of an emerging technology used for consumer research is eye-tracking hardware that provides a level of behavioral insight. StrategyOne also cited advances in the field of behavioral economics and neuroscientific techniques as contributing to the shifting paradigms within research. Electroencephalographic (EEG) measurement of brain waves looks at the general effectiveness of an ad campaign. Functional MRI, on the other hand, aids in understanding the cognitive process that drives consumer reaction to an ad campaign.

New technologies and platforms require consumer research to rethink current models and incorporate new techniques to better monitor and understand consumer activity and behavior. This marks a shift of budget towards nontraditional mediums. More importantly, consumer research can drive effective and better insights from the combination of information processing and measuring engagement capabilities.

  1. Becoming agile with new research methodologies

Consumer research is becoming more real-time and agile. This causes the reimagining of traditional research techniques, the invention of new ones, and the combination of both old and new models for optimal results.

Greenbook’s GRIT Report identified mobile surveys, Market Research Online Communities (MROC), and unstructured data analysis — which include social media and text analytics — as the current mainstream methods used in conducting consumer research.

TNS CEO Richard Ingleton noted, “With social data, the ability to ask questions in the moment means we can give our clients a much more accurate answer than any of the traditional techniques. They’re still asking the same questions, we’re just answering them better — more quickly, more accurately and more relevantly.”

While the traditional long-form survey is taking a back seat, StrategyOne identified old methodologies such as ethnographies and lengthy in-depth interviews as making a comeback. The need for deeper analysis in today’s noisy, data-driven world raises the demand for these models that help identify consumer behavior in a more detailed and personalized way.

Summing up

Consumer research, like any other industry, is at the cusp of a dynamic modification because of technology. But one thing remains the same: Providing innovative and valuable products and services relies on a strong understanding of the market and consumer. Rather than just leveraging internal knowledge, businesses not only need to gather information about target customers, but also draw ideas from the overall market and competition.

As the world gets even more interconnected and active across all mediums — both offline and online – it behooves businesses to focus on continuous and proactive customer engagement, utilizing all new technologies and platforms, enabling research and insight to continue to drive successful decision-making.

Wizer on Advertising Research Foundation’s Innovators A-List

arf_a-list_300x300

Wizer has been selected to participate in the prestigious Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Innovators A-List program.

Only 32 companies out of 85 applicants passed the rigorous vetting process. To be admitted to the program, Wizer was reviewed by 10 to 12 curators from companies including Cars.com, Colgate, comScore, Facebook, Havas Media, Kantar, LinkedIn, Nielsen Catalina Solutions, Ogilvy Labs, P&G, and Turner Broadcasting.

The final selection was made by a jury composed of judges from Evol8tion, Google and GCapital, Morgan Digital Ventures, Nielsen Ventures, Oracle Data Cloud, Pintrest, Revel Partners, Twitter and Unilever.

ARF is an organization which consists of 400 top-tier companies such as Google, Sony, P&G, and Unilever. Its mission is to form a direct channel between global enterprises and promising startups in the ad and marketing tech eco-system.

The ARF Innovators A-List program identifies companies that have created scalable, disruptive solutions for marketing and advertising. It specifically focuses on measurement, attribution and user experience industries.

Getting on the A-List makes your startup a strategic partner to the ARF and its members. Qualified applicants get a full year’s worth of benefits and support, and multiple opportunities to connect with ARF’s member companies.

Wizer and other A-List members will take part in the ARF Innovators Workshops on 3/21 in NYC, 4/6 in Chicago and 5/3 in SF.  You can also meet Wizer at the ARF Annual Conference, March 20-21 at Hilton Midtown, New York City.

2017: The Year of Insight Automation

2017-1

Consumer research is among the areas in marketing that hardly budged during the digital revolution of the last decade. Unlike other facets of marketing that are becoming more digital- and cloud-based, marketing research has largely remained labor-intensive and human-centric. In 2016, Chiefmartec listed 3,874 marketing technologies in around 50 categories. However, consumer research is not one of the categories listed.

In the last couple of years, however, developments in consumer research technology have started to accelerate. The availability of machine learning and newly developed A.I. algorithms can solve many of the shortcomings of the old survey platforms, and new consumer research platforms can now use artificial intelligence to mimic expert market researchers and even provide results of similar or better quality.

At Wizer, we are proud to be innovators in the world of marketing insight automation. Here are some of the improvements that we have implemented to address the shortcomings of previous generation online surveys:

  • Building the questionnaire: Rather than manually programming survey question by survey question, our artificial intelligence algorithms will now structure your study simply by asking you a series of questions about what you want to accomplish — selecting from a vast array of questions and research methodologies and providing the optimal research questionnaire based on those objectives.
  • Fielding the survey: With platforms using real-time monitoring, we can guarantee that you are getting a representative and valid sample of your target audience.
  • Analyzing the results: Instead of having research managers crunch the data, our platform can analyze the data instantly—reducing the time required for analysis from weeks to minutes, while avoiding or mitigating human errors.
  • Visualizing results: Our robust visualization platform replaces the time-consuming building and analyzing of PowerPoint slides and provides and highlights the most important insights, helping you understand top line results and the most important things to act on.
  • Out-of-the-box, custom benchmark database: Even traditional agencies struggle to measure your organizational benchmarks and KPIs and give it meaning in the context of your business and overall category. As part of its unique knowledge center, Wizer actually builds benchmarks and KPIs for each and every customer, automatically!
  • Get the bottom line first: You conducted research because you wanted answers, not just a hundred pages of charts and cross-tabulations. Wizer’s A.I. technology finds and emphasizes statistically significant findings and presents them in an easy to read executive summary scorecard that gets to your answers fast —in text and infographics—and highlights any other interesting finding across the report.

Consumer research is now joining an important trend of leveraging technology to accomplish business objectives faster, better and cheaper (up to 70% cheaper in some cases!). When insights are easier and more affordable, organizations can develop a culture of rigorous data-driven decisions—in a way that was virtually impossible before.

The Fung Global Retail and Technology Fund Identifies Wizer as an Innovator in the Consumer Research Space

Wizer and Fung Fund

In their 2009 book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, Dan Senor and Saul Singer explored why Israel has more NASDAQ listed companies than any other nation but the US. The book reviewed how a small nation of a little more than 7 million people managed to become a technology super-power, second only to Silicon Valley.

A few weeks ago, the Fung Global Retail and Technology fund team travelled to Israel to meet with local startups that are disrupting the retail space and visit multinationals that operate within Israel’s booming technology space.

One of the companies that the Fung team met with was Wizer. During their visit, the Fung team got an in-depth demonstration of how Wizer leverages artificial intelligence to provide consumer research and intelligence.

The team also visited several other innovation centers and accelerators across Israel. To read the Fung team’s notes about the trip, click here.

A Quick Digest – Wizer in the News

A series of recent news articles covered Wizer’s consumer research technology. Here is a quick digest of the latest coverage:

Wizer in the News

The internet has left market research behind

iMedia Connection In a new post on iMedia Connection, Idan Geva, Co-founder of Wizer, says that while the Internet has changed many industries, marketing research has remained more or less the same. Read the full post to discover where the market research industry is heading and how it is going to change.

“Having worked in market research for over a dozen years, I believe that market research over the internet has not progressed much since 1990s. Commercially, it would appear that the last leap forward for online market research was led by SurveyMonkey — enabling marketers to harness the power of the internet for conducting self-serve web-based interviews. Can an industry that boasts aligning with technologies 5 to 10 (or more) years old congratulate itself and claim that it has thoroughly or even mildly evolved?”

Click here to read the full post