Technology is fundamentally changing how, when, where and with whom we do research. These changes fundamentally challenge the market research industry’s tired dogma of research being “great, cheap and fast—pick any two.” And this, in turn, challenges current market research agencies, suppliers and client-side market research departments.
Why can’t research be great, cheap, and fast? Low-cost tools now have high-end functions. New sample sources reduce the cost per complete and in some cases give access to more qualified participants. I’m not saying all research can or should be great, cheap and fast. Sometimes it’s fine for a research project to be “quick and dirty.” In some cases, fast is simply not an option given the quality of analysis and deliverable needed (though “fast” is relative and is faster than it used to be). However, clinging to old dogma is, well, getting old.
My biggest concern with all of this is that market research may miss the boat. If we don’t get over our dated assumptions and embrace radical change, here is what will happen:
- Non-market research departments will have ownership of new data sources and develop their own analytic approaches.
- New breeds of consulting firms that offer new fee models, technology, and delivery mechanisms will squeeze market research agencies out.
In other words, if we don’t challenge old assumptions about great, cheap and fast, someone else will.