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The two biggest issues in market research

As the dust settled on 2009, vigorous debate about where market research was going could be found everywhere; blogs, discussion forums, conferences, and surely endless personal conversations.  From all of the discussions that I’ve been a party to, two big themes emerged.

  1. Relevance
  2. “Next generation” market research

Researchers have been asking the question of how they can be more relevant for some time. Many discussions at last fall’s AMA Marketing Research Conference (and others, I’m sure), dozens of blogs and discussion forums, and countless personal conversations have centered on the idea of how researchers can get some respect within their organization (I’ll avoid showing my age with a Rodney Dangerfield reference here).

This is a topic that I’ve written and spoken about many times before (see some examples here and here), and in the coming weeks will post a short series detailing what researchers can do about this seemingly perennial problem.

And then there’s the whole notion of the next generation of market research, which for many is a much sexier topic than relevance.  As social media really came into its own in 2009, just about any conversation of next generation market research is really about “how do we do research in the context of social media.”

This is an important issue to be sure, but I don’t necessarily believe it’s the end of research as we know it, as some have suggested.  Nor is it some shiny object – a fleeting distraction from “real” research, as others have called it.  I am convinced that it will cause a permanent shift in how we think about research and data gathering, much like the telephone and the web survey did in their time.

We’ve been working on some test projects here in the Erickson Research labs to explore how social media can be used to deliver practical, actionable research insights.  Expect to hear a whole lot more about what we’re finding in the coming weeks and months.

What do you think?

About the Author

Ed Erickson is the President of Erickson Research, a Chicago market research consulting firm. You can find Ed on LinkedIn and .

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