Like last year, we offer up our foresight on some of the top trends in our field for 2010. Although the year has already started, hopefully we haven’t missed anything in its first weeks.

Some of the trends we noted last year – economic pressures, instantaneous research – will continue and become even more pronounced. Here we offer some additional thought specifically on market research and analytics.

  • As companies seek answers to their important questions, they will first turn to the data they already have. Using data analytics to squeeze every last drop out of their ever growing data will be the most cost effective way for many to get their answers. (see a related Business Week article here)
  • Related to the economy and overall cost cutting/justifying, the need to have demonstrable results will be even more important. In research, this will mean producing insights that drive profitable action. For broader strategy, this will mean setting (or keeping) a course that drives the organization forward.
  • While we noted it last year, the need for instant feedback is growing even stronger (one sign of this is the major search engines indexing social media sites like Twitter). While the need has always been there, newer technologies continue to make getting it even easier. Mining online conversations and any “buzz” will become commonplace for all companies.
  • As companies and organizations seek ever better information to inform their decisions, surveys, especially using online panels, are becoming more and more popular for their speed and cost effectiveness. However, as we continue to ask people to take an ever greater number of surveys, the cost of straining survey takers is becoming greater – greater burnout, lower data quality, and professional respondents, to name a few. (see our other posts on the topic here and here)
  • One reason for the popularity of monitoring social media and online surveys is their speed. Real-time feedback through quick measurements is crucial for altering strategy and achieving demonstrable results.
  • All the data in the world is useless unless it’s properly conveyed. From the quick overview of key metrics using data “dashboards” to telling the deeper story, clients and end users will demand to get the most out of their research. Deciding how to convey findings, tell the story, and do so efficiently will be crucial. (See a related article on Quirks about how to get those stories from respondents…Article ID 20091206 free registration required)
  • Similarly, online communities will continue to gain momentum. These communities build off the common experience of online networks (i.e. Facebook) and allow for richer information to be gathered over a longer period of time than a one-time focus group or survey can provide.
  • Finally, will location based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla create new opportunities for research? Combined with mobile research, the ability for short surveys, instant feedback, all in a relevant environment may provide one more tool in the researcher’s toolbox.
Online communities
Monitoring conversations/online buzz
Speed – real time
Lower response rates

These are just a few key ways that new tools and the changing nature of respondents are impacting how you find your answers.  Do you see other changes taking shape?

Tomorrow, we’ll have part 2 of our trends post on strategy and the social sector.