Each year in our survey for our Q Report study on client-side researchers we ask one or two forward-looking questions to get a sense of what corporate researchers have on their minds and on their plates. I reported on some of the themes in my recap article in the September/October 2022 issue (“Of qual and quality,” https://www.quirks.com/storage/QReport_2022.pdf) but space didn’t allow for a deeper dive into the topics cited by readers so I thought I’d revisit their responses at the start of a new year to give you a feel for where you and your organization are compared to others.

Some of the responses were aspirational, like workplace versions of new-year vows to eat healthier, exercise more, get organized or stop keeping the local craft brewery industry afloat all by yourself (or maybe that’s just me?). But most were frank, clear-eyed takes on their current situations and what they foresaw as some of the biggest changes for their insights functions coming down the pike.

A move toward reorganization/rethinking, whether fueled by circumstance or a drive for efficiency:

Realignment of marketing research teams to fit better with evolving needs of our internal stakeholders and organizational structure.

We just continue to be more thoughtful with our research dollars. Doing more with less, doing more DIY to save money, etc.

Ensuring that customer data from surveys can be seamlessly blended with operational and observational data for deeper analysis.

Increased use of technology, most often AI and other digital tools, typically with an eye toward greater impact:

Trying to automate more processes, e.g., collating data from all the different surveys so that the KPIs can be sent to execs.

Increased reliance on digital analytics, decreased reliance on long-form market research studies.

Continue transition from traditional methods of on-site focus groups and IDIs to more real-time, online, digitally driven options (online bulletin boards, etc.).

A renewed or heightened focus on the customer:

Per senior management, greater efforts to obtain voice of the customer, leading to actions to an increase in customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.

Focusing on the customer journey and ensuring our metrics match our goals.

More investment in CX tied to economic impact.

Whether due to cost, poor panel data quality or a desire for greater control over their pool of respondents, many readers said their firms were turning to in-house panels:

We are developing panels and will be purchasing panel management software to help. Also conducting more qualitative this year.

Conducting a much higher share of research in-house with DIY tools by contacting our customers directly.

Finding a way to get a better sample of our target audience. It is becoming more difficult to get B2B decision-makers to stop and complete research surveys.

A handful of comments were more like declarations than predictions:

The challenge is not making enough change. Company research is very outdated.

Taking a stronger point of view in recommending actions when presenting research results to business partners.

Hope to have the dog wag the tail vs. the tail wag the dog. In other words, lead with research vs. backing into it.

Being more open to conducting market research differently, in more creative ways. We've been trying out different methods and vendors to garner more engagement from our internal stakeholders.

Continuing to drive [the role of insights] in senior leadership decision-making. Already good but this will be a continued goal.