2012 Market Insights Professionals – Better … Stronger … Faster?

As the world starts discussing the intricacies of the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus’ predictions and the potential appearance of “Planet X” in 2012, we thought we would get the conversation focused on something much more important … the future of Market Insights. No, there’s no doomsday planned for our profession but, yes, there may be some cataclysmic events for some market insights professionals as they get hit by increasing demands from executives and stakeholders who are struggling to keep up with competitive disruption and fast-changing customer preferences.

Forrester will shortly publish the “Predictions 2012: What Will Happen In Market Research” report. In it, we’ll detail major tectonic shifts which we’ve been monitoring in the industry and why we are reaching a tipping point where constancy is now riskier than change. Some factors contributing to this include:

  • Companies need to change.Disruptors are changing the rules of the game with their “shoot-aim-ready!” business model and the internet has greatly enhanced customer power, influence and choice.  To survive in this environment, companies need to embrace continuous market and performance monitoring and business improvement.
  • Market insights needs to change. Changes at the company level will force market insights departments to change their deliverables and business processes. Key changes include providing more agile insights, deeper and more strategic insights and more proactive competitive intelligence. Those which don’t face being replaced by Shadow MI.
  • Market insights professionals need to change. Finally, to meet the demands of their departments, market insights professionals will need to “up their game” and become like the Six Million Dollar Man (better … stronger … faster!). This means delivering insights better, providing stronger strategic guidance and being much faster than you ever were before!

This started us to thinking – what might this professional look like?

But now, we would love to hear from you. How do market insights professionals need to change in order to succeed? How will the market insights professional of the future look like in your opinion?

To make this more interesting, we’re holding a contest on the market insights community site (here). Contribute your own “2012 Market Insights Professional” picture and vote on others’ submissions. The entry that receives the most votes by January 1, 2012 will receive a $100 gift card (or $100 donation to your charity of choice). We will also award two $50 gift cards/donations for the two entries with the next most votes.


Great article, Richard. We

Great article, Richard. We just did a bit of internal polling about the shape of things to come here at Communispace (http://blog.communispace.com/align/market-research-trends-2012/ - incidentally, the Mayan Calendar also made an appearance amidst the prognostications) and turned up a few high-level ideas:

- The emotional truths that drive consumer decisions will continue to be our focus - but we will dig deeper than ever before
- We'll see more of respondents becoming sponsors, helping to shape research agendas, fueling engagement and giving brands answers to questions they didn't think to ask
- Non-self-reported passive data will continue to see more widespread adoption
- Insights needs to continue to become more strategic, connecting the dots and turning data into stories that evoke emotion and inspire innovation.

Or maybe it will just be the end of everything.

Great list, Chris! Thanks for

Great list, Chris! Thanks for adding to the conversation.

Absolutely agree. Respondents are great at showing "what we don't know that we don't know" and Forrester is a real advocate of driving insights into strategic decisions to optimize ROI.

I look forward to more conversations around 'customer emotional engagement' as this is crucial in a world where barriers to entry/exit are low but competitive disruption is high.

My hope is that it doesn't all end as it's getting really interesting!!!

Continuous Market Monitoring 2.0

Thanks Richard for the thought provoking article as the end of 2011 draws nearer. At clearCi we focus on the competitive aspects of market research and insights and have already seen a lot of these changes developing among our clients. Most interesting to see has been the evolution of job titles and areas of responsibility of our userbase. Whereas the range of titles used to be limited to the likes of "Director of Competitive Intelligence" or "VP of Market Research", now we see a whole host of more broad titles like "Corporate Insight" or "Global Consumer Insight". For the full list, see our website (http://www.clearci.com/about/our-clients/).

We see this as a realization by companies that simply observing their market will fail to help them maintain a competitive edge. Your point on the need for 'proactive competitive intelligence' certainly is a strong undercurrent for the challenge many of our clients are seeking to address. Our more 'proactive' clients are embracing these changes before it is necessary, and it starts with strong buy-in from the top.

I'm curious if other vendors/consultants in the market research space are also seeing this change among their clients, and very much look forward to reading the report.

Joe Levy, Founder & CEO
clearCi | SaaS Competitive Intelligence Software

Thanks for the list, Joe.

Thanks for the list, Joe. Always interesting how many ways we can describe competitive intelligence!

The one title I'm longing to see is: VP of Competitive Disruption. The mandate? Cutting-edge, customer-obsessed innovation which continually keeps the company two steps ahead of the competition. Heh, no reason that large enterprises have to let start-ups have all the fun!

You should talk to Suresh

You should talk to Suresh about YMMI. We've got something special in this area of competitive intelligence.

Market Insights - Protect your customer

Great article. Market insights with real time insights driving messaging to defend and protect customer base provides competitive advantages

Hi Michael, I hear you. Real

Hi Michael, I hear you. Real time is still pretty illusive but market insights definitley needs to get a lot more agile. That big lion chasing them isn't afraid to use its teeth ... and chomp budgets or heads if MI doesn't deliver.

Darwinian moment for our profession. Better, stronger, faster ... or else!