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.


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The new dashboard



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How to choose a market research agency?

Making sure that your company receives the best research deliverables possible is not only of paramount importance, but also quite straightforward, once you know the right criteria to select upon. It is imperative that you select the right partner that would provide you with what is in the core of your business decision process. We have gathered some pointers that we’d like to share with you, about how to choose the market research agency that gets to have direct impact on your most valuable business assets, i.e. your brand or product:

  1. Understanding Your World

The first thing that you would want to look for in an agency is: how well do they know my domain? They must possess extensive industry knowledge concerning the family of business problems you may have, even the ones you’re not yet aware of, and offer a wide range of plausible solutions, including industry norms, business process optimization, etc.



  1. Delivering Fast and Reliable Results

In today’s business world, time is getting increasingly shorter. The agency that you work with should have that sense of urgency translated into their deliverables, and be able to get results to you, sometimes even within a matter of hours, but mostly within a few short days, depending on complexity of the sampling.


  1. Pay what’s Reasonable

Paying for the services that you receive is all a part of owning a business, but you also want to make sure that you’re not overpaying your bargain. Finding an agency that offers a reasonable price and has a history of positive results is your best option. It is imperative that you don’t astray from your budget and/or get less than worthy information. don’t be tempted to paying for fancy names and brands if it’s unnecessary.


  1. Feel the Pulse: Get Real-Time Accessibility

Being able to monitor the data as it’s being populated will give you the most up to date information. Take the time to let your agency know that you expect to have access to the data without time of day and location restrictions. having a working internet line should suffice.


  1. No More “TMI”

The benefit of a business relationship is to work with people that know how you work. You should be able to have access to your data, receive an executive summary, and get all of the information that you need without having to ask for further clarifications. Everything should be presented in a clear and concise manner that you understand merely by looking at.


If you want to find this particular agency with those unique capabilities and strong connection to your core business, Wizer is the right choice for you, because not only is it an agency, but an automated agency – the world’s first!l

Here at Wizer we are able to give you everything that you could need, and more. Contact us for more information on how we can help you to grow into a bigger and better business.


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Wizer is an intelligent automated research platform that dramatically simplifies the complex challenge of running professional market research surveys. We do so by digitally modelling professional research experience & industry expertise into our solution, which is tremendously scarce in today’s online research tools, and so expensive & time consuming when turning to real-life market research agencies.


Our virtual research wizard emulates decades-worth of collective market wisdom & expertise of multiple research professionals, industry experts, data analysts and presentation gurus. Not only does it guide & advise you through the entire challenging research-conducting process, it even automates all of the hard work for you.

How We Do It – Market Research Expertise built-in, from start to finish

Addressing the problem:
who you are, what your business question or pain is

Defining & Refining your survey:
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This is not a template, it is Your Own questionnaire

Presenting useful data:
Data is analyzed, and eventually you get distilled insight for each of the goals preliminarily set