Joost Poolman Simons, part of the global social media practice at Ipsos looks ahead to 2020 and shares some thoughts and ideas about the future of research and insights generation.
With the rise of mobile, geolocation, neuroscience, big data and new innovations like Google Glass, we see more technologies tailored to the user, their preferences, needs, location and activity. It’s about being mobile, being connected and having fast and easy access to knowledge.
Customised advertising and book suggestions were the first things targeted to the user, but now, with the ability to pinpoint your location and combine that with your behavioural data, companies like Google can offer location-based, tailored suggestions for a range of services such as museums, stores or restaurants.
And with more and more data points on the horizon, we find that there are more and more moments where we can understand what people are doing and talk with them about their experiences in the moment.
Ipsos is already using mobile research technologies such as geofencing, which enable us to create a virtual fence around a defined geographical location and push a question to any person who has downloaded our app and enters that location.
We see new technologies being developed every day; companies like Samsung patenting a technology that allows phones to generate automated ‘Life Diaries’. And with the rise of Neuroscience you can imagine that in the future your phone will be able to constantly collect data about your health and how you are feeling.
For a lot of people this all sounds far away, futuristic and unbelievable, but as Kevin Kelly once wrote: “Any believable prediction of the future will be wrong. Any correct prediction of the future will be unbelievable”. And Henry Ford around the invention of the car: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
When the internet started people just took what they’ve done offline and copied that to an online environment, push communication, web 1.0. It took us years before we changed the way in which we used the internet, and look at where we are now after the rise of social media, a two way interaction, web 2.0.
Exactly the same happened with the first smartphones – we copied what we did online, and applied that to mobile. Every time an innovation takes place it takes us a few years to understand the new technology, the possible applications and adapt to it.
The same is true for research: 20 years ago the only way for us to talk to people was face-to-face or via the telephone. Today we can connect with people all day, every day, using the internet and mobile phones.
And now with the rise of web 3.0, the web itself is starting to understand the meaning of content and generate it. The Internet of Things is a development that enables every item in your house to be connected – i.e. your fridge knows when things are expiring or when you are running out of milk and orders it automatically from a supermarket’s website to be delivered to your home.
These new innovations allow us to dive deeper into understanding consumers. Market research is all about helping companies to improve their product, business or service for their end-users. In my presentation at Marketing Week Live I will talk about the exciting new developments and opportunities for generating insights in 2020. But I will also touch on how you can get ready for 2020 by starting to change the way in which you research right now. Move from research 1.0, asking questions to research 2.0, engaging and interacting with your customers.
Mobile research and online communities enable us to get insights in the moment and at the point of experience, providing us with more context and more accurate observations over longer periods of time.
Engagement-based customer centric research is all about mimicking the way people communicate with each other. Instead of sending someone a 30-minute questionnaire asking things that you want to know, you need to start engaging and interacting with people and learn from what they know and want to share with you.
The first internet revolution gave people the ability to communicate directly with companies via sites like Twitter & Facebook. Today, people have more and more power as an individual and as a collective. So why not empower them to help you improve your business by involving them in the decision making process?
In 2020, we can expect market research to be more about engagement, interaction, in-context research, fast and in real-time, ongoing, agile, layered with passive tracking, in the moment and all centred around the consumer.