In the tradition of blog posts recapping the previous year and predicting the next year, Corona offers our own opinions on how the trends of 2009 will shape the world of research and strategy.

  • Response rates are declining and reaching a representative sample is becoming harder.  The number of households with no landline telephone may finally cross a threshold in ’09 leading to greater biases if not accounted for correctly.
  • To account for lower response rates, researchers will try new approaches to research, and multimode surveys (utilizing multiple types of surveys to reach different audiences) will become more commonplace.
  • Quicker, more instantaneous, research will be gathered in ’09.  The convergence of technologies will create ample opportunity to gain insight from consumers.  The convergence of GPS (only survey the people in certain locations), mobile phones (reach people who can no longer be reached on landlines or even online), digital cameras (include photo collages in surveys), the mobile web (online surveys – anywhere), and an explosion of widgets (online panels/communities gone mobile) will allow for surveying closer to the point of interaction (with whatever it is you’re interested in) which will not only allow the respondent to have better recall, but more options for how to respond.
  • Of course, no 2009 predictions would be complete without a mention of the economy.  Yeah, it will likely be a rough year according to most forecasts, but there is a silver lining – at the other end companies will be more efficient, relevant, and primed for growth.  In the mean time, organizations who perform research will have a greater focus on cost.  Lower cost will likely mean more online research and a willingness to try new approaches.  See our earlier post as well on the importance of market research in a down economy.
  • With cost being a greater concern, there will be more low-cost entrants to the marketplace.  With cheap online tools, anyone can “conduct” research now.  Greater pressure will be placed on established firms to demonstrate their value.
  • As consumers and companies embrace Feedback 3.0 in the coming year, the impacts will flow down to many business sectors.  While I have mentioned transparency before in terms of client feedback, there are many other aspects such as feedback from research participants and visible policies on data collection and usage.  What if respondents could rate the survey they just took AND other potential respondents could see their ranking as well as how long it took them?
  • Finally, a topic that I’ve been interested in for years – the green movement.  It didn’t crescendo in 2008.  There are too many opportunities still out there, too much at risk, and too much momentum to stop.  See an earlier post on the subject here.

What do you think?  As fellow researchers or clients?