Of particular interest is a partial list of Issues for 2009 which include:
- Price or budget pressure from current economic conditions (86%)
- Research treated as a commodity, with less willingness to pay for high quality (73%)
- Demand from clients for shorter timelines and faster delivery of findings (70%)
- Surveys that are too long (68%)
- Non-research managers doing their own surveys on the internet (63%)
- Concerns about proliferation of professional respondents (53%)
- Reduction in demand for primary research because non-research managers learn what they need from the web
- RFPs generated by purchasing managers with criteria more appropriate for hard goods than for research
- Difficulty in obtaining sufficient sample from access panels
- Price pressure because of competition with off-shore research providers
Many of the items listed I believe are common to many if not most industries; price and time pressures are universal. These are also common to any industry that has been disrupted by the internet.
Of most concern, is that these issues or concerns are indicators of an industry that is being challenged in its methods and efficiencies. A common expectation is that when a function moves online, that it becomes cheaper and more efficient. This is difficult to say for the market research industry. Yes, the internet has changed market research, but has it truly made it any more efficient or cost effective? If the expectation is yes and the answer is no, then we have a real problem.
While paper surveys have moved online, can we really say that market research has yet gone through a technological evolution? Does the industry have enough innovation or desire?
If the top 10 issues cannot be addressed, I fear the industry's credibility is at risk. Is this a fair assessment?