In the world of market research, new approaches and strategies are being developed rapidly. One of the ways we like to stay smart on industry trends is by reviewing the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report. Below are a few tidbits from the Q3 and Q4 report, which we found particularly insightful.

Mobile Surveys Are The New Normal

Not surprisingly, many suppliers and buyers of research reported that mobile surveys were the most commonly used approach in 2016. In a world where many of us have one item that’s always in reach (our phone) asking questions through this widely used medium makes sense. Other top research approaches mentioned in the report were online communities, social media analytics, text analytics, and mobile qualitative. The least used research approaches were wearable based research, sensor/usage/telemetry data, and biometric response. Notice that all of the techniques named above are heavily influenced by technology, which points to where the industry is heading. We also found it interesting that the least used techniques are more attuned to new technology, which could point to an increase in use as new technology progresses and becomes mainstream.

Game Changers

To be better and faster is a motto to many industries, including market research. When suppliers and buyers of research were asked what the game changers in the industry were, they mentioned big data, automation, and storytelling. Big data analytics, previously seen as a daunting task to tackle by clients, has been retooled and simplified by researchers by defining what data has been collected and presenting it in a straightforward and digestible manner.  In order to be competitive, automation helps researchers streamline and accelerate projects. Automation is typically used to make repetitive or tedious tasks quicker, such as the distribution of online surveys or the creation of a simple report through computer programming.  Lastly, after data has been collected, researchers can utilize storytelling to make the results easy for clients to interpret. Storytelling is going deeper with the data – such as the difference between giving someone a map or turn-by-turn directions. Without guidance (such as that gained through storytelling), a reader can get lost in the results or find that the results lack meaning.

Top Research Approaches

Many researchers believe the key to quality data is creating a satisfactory user experience, making it critical to understand what modalities researchers plan to use in 2017. The top three approaches that are projected to increase in use are integrated data sets, social media data, and primary research. Integrated data sets are created by leveraging data from multiple sources and combining it with primary research, providing the researcher with a multipoint view. Since many organizations communicate with stakeholders via social media, researchers have the opportunity to utilize social media data (where applicable and depending on the project) gained from analyzing performance on social platforms. Lastly, primary research, where researchers conduct a study and collect data, is expected to be widely used in 2017 as it has been in years prior.

Where To Get Insight

Buyers and suppliers of market research predict an increase in spending in 2017, making it important for market research professionals to stay up to date on the latest industry trends throughout the year. When asked where respondents currently gain industry insight, top responses were seminars/conferences, webinars/virtual events, and industry websites. The GRIT report also noted that researchers are embracing the importance of learning new skills. During 2017, researchers interested in enhancing their skill set will likely gravitate towards training programs which will teach them to find the story in the data, augment data visualization skills, and/or learn to align business needs to research methods.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.