Here is something to chew on as you start to wrap up 2010 and hopefully have already begun thinking about 2011. I want to know your thoughts as well, so please share!
The walls fall down:
Researchers are finally going to get sick of talking about this qual/quant divide. So many blended advancements will also help to break bricks and create a universal language which we will call understanding. That is, understanding the consumer first as a person (More on that in a bit).
Another barrier that will continue to deteriorate in the 2011 is this MR silo. It’s inefficient and quickly becoming a barrier to the almighty Understanding…at least in achieving it in an effective and efficient means. MR is going to be a facet of the entire communications/customer relationship mix. Those walls between marketing/advertising/PR/etc. are coming down too. MR will follow. Communications, driven by the consumer, are too fast to have completely segregated teams trying to keep up. That gap between the marketing and MR teams will diminish rapidly, and it’s okay…I promise!
Consumer is King:
We’ve gone through content, the message, the medium, and a bunch of other manifestations of king, but the true focus will be on the consumer, and not as a customer….as a person. Panel/sample providers will focus on better knowledge of them. Researcher/moderators will focus on better relating to them. Companies/brands will focus on treating them and communicating with them in better formats. B2C, B2C, C2C, it’s all the same when you drill down to the basics of humanity….unless you sell to robots. People have wants and needs, they are rational and irrational, and people work with and buy from people they like. Are you likeable?
It looks confusing, but it isn’t. It’s about value. It always has been, and always will be! Value equals Relevance and Timeliness over accountability, minus price.
Expectations of relevance are extremely high, and will continue to grow even higher. The digital persona provides a high-level of detail about our lives, wants and needs. As people, we expect communications to be tailored and relevant, it will be researchers’ jobs to translate and interpret into digestible and executable bites.
Timeliness is redefined. People expect faster results from Companies, Companies want faster results from MR and MR wants faster support from its suppliers. Nothing will change that. It’s do or die. Embrace the tools that serve as a life vest because the storm is coming.
People want that same level of highly tailored relevance every time they interact and engage a brand. They expect the brand to be accountable, and they will find someone else if the brand falls short.
Price is not irrelevant; it’s just not the most important piece of the pie. Sometimes the reduction in price/monetary value is not a cheapening of status, but more-so a re-balancing and association with relevance and overall worth. Consumers will pay more for greater value in return. With the advancement of transparency through social media there are just less places to hide.
Under the Influence:
This whole rise of interest in the influencer model is not a fad. Influence matters and the way in which people obtain, sustain and utilize influence will be highly studied by companies and researchers. Do you have influence? What is influence? How do I get it? What do I do with it? How do I measure it? Figure out the answers to those questions, because your clients are going to ask you for them. Researchers will need to know how to identify, relate to, understand and utilize influence in the world of communication.
I’m not talking about cars. I am talking about the blend between what we call traditional and new, in-person and online, and quant and qual. After the walls come down, we build new ponds where ecosystems consisting of appropriate blends and mixes of these variables exist in not only harmony, but synergy. Many researchers talk about the ideal projects where clients approach them with a problem in need of a solution, rather than a request in need of a bid. Well, I fell like you will have your chance 2011, are you ready? We will need to know the full plethora of research solutions and how they best apply to providing specific solutions to client problems.
The smallest of the “three screens” is going to be the most important in 2011. If you look at the formula for value I portrayed above, then it’s no surprise that mobile devices have a huge play in 2011. We have only scratched the surface of what we can do with mobile. Get ready for amazing advancements in 2011!
Leadership and Collaboration:
We’ve talked about influence, now let’s talk leadership and collaboration. We have driven to such specialization in today’s world that in order to keep up, things are going to have to do a bit more consolidating in order to be most effective. I see smaller companies being incorporated into bigger ones and several companies who are smaller and more specialize teaming up to go after bigger wins and offer more complete solutions. It’s not really a surprise; it’s history. If you are seen as a leader in the space your role with clients will evolve in 2011, from leading individual projects, to more of a consultative partnership with clients (this is a good thing!).
Collaboration on the consumer side of things is not too much different. We’ve made enough mistakes in collaborative design and crowd sourcing that in 2011 we will maximize its efficiency and effectiveness. It’s really not that different of a total concept from what he have always done in MR. As researchers, our job has revolved around crowd sourcing ideas, concepts, feedback etc.
This list does not serve as an exhaustive list of changes to expect in 2011, and I may even post some additional thoughts at a later date. But, I think it gives us something to think about, and discuss as a starting point. What do you think? What is missing? What points do you argue?
Thanks for stopping by!