Currently I am attending the Market Research in the Mobile World (#MRMW) Conference in Cincinnati (US), about doing research in a mobile world. Looking at the ‘wave’ of online research, this was where disruption happened. Research became quicker, cheaper and more efficient. Standards had quickly been established in the industry and a whole industry of survey programming software, online access panels and ‘online’ agencies flourished. Looking at what we call the ‘tsunami of mobile’ (we have been bombarded with eye-opening facts and predictions about mobile usage – especially in developing markets), there is a clear realization that this will not be the same disruption as online was. The industry is challenged with a lot of new opportunities, but also some major challenges and uncertainties.
What we do know is that mobile will absolutely re-shuffle the current marketplace. The future looks bright for ‘big data owners’ like Google. Launching their mobile survey platform, they have now the world’s largest mobile panel. The time is now for the industry to deliver value to our clients using these big data and converting them into insights. This is the disruption that is going on in the market now and will continue in the near future. And the new players might not necessarily come from the ‘research world’.
Looking at how the current industry is reacting to this mobile tsunami, there were clearly 2 ‘streams’ at the MRMW Conference:
- A lot of the discussions about mobile, end up being about surveys. With clear doubts and barriers in terms of privacy, survey design, gamification,….and the need to develop industry standards.
- At InSites Consulting we have taken a slightly different perspective and don’t go into the mobile survey ‘alley’. Like other agencies presenting at the conference, we look at mobile from an opportunity side in the context of qualitative research. As mobile is a personal and contextual device, it becomes a powerful tool to collect observations of meaningful and always-on ‘human’ behavior. Linking these to other powerful ‘discussion/probing’ methods like MROCs and applying techniques as crowd-interpretation offers a future proof way to surf the wave of mobile.