As published on ESOMAR’s RW Connect on March 13, 2013. During the last few weeks I carried out a small investigation into the state of the Romanian market research industry. One of the biggest challenges for the market research industry in Romania today is cost cutting on the client side. Alina Serbanica, Vice President of Ipsos testifies, “market research budgets are continuously reduced by clients – including by international companies. Nowadays, some sectors cannot afford to invest more in market research as they have been significantly impacted by the economic crisis (e.g. automotive or constructions sectors). However, despite the economic difficulties, all the sectors adapt their market research budgets, challenging market research agencies to revamp the research services to fit into the budget limitations clients have.”
So we should do more … with less. One obvious route is to look at new innovations in the market research world and learn how they can deliver an added value. But what are paths should we walk?
Don’t just tell me what’s happening and what to do, also tell me HOW to do it.
Research objectives have become increasingly pragmatic in the past years. Teodor Lia from Vodaphone Romania puts it as following: “The clients expect the agencies to deliver sound (360) solutions to their problems. The solutions have to be down-to-earth, plug-and-play.” Research needs to deliver against the business objectives, as opposed to just providing some background, some exploratory information. Oana Popa Rengle for Anamnesis explains: “one thing that I have noticed changed, by looking at our business, is the increased complexity of the projects. For example, a segmentation research does not end with the segmentation report anymore, it has to end with co-creating products and services with and for those respective segments.” In parallel with the need for more impact, in company workshops and research based consultancy is growing in importance to establish business strategies.
Make it sexy!
We can still take a leap forward in marketing our research results. Oana Popa Rengle continues: “I think Romania is a mature research market, with talented researchers, that do very high quality work, but we have difficulties to translate research findings into actions. There’s a gap where no-one has the proper expertise: client, nor researcher.” Most likely, we can find some inspiration with our colleagues from the West!
Grasp the new reality
Romania is a country in transition. As such all stakeholders see a big trend in helping clients to understand this new reality. Several dimensions are driving the need for insights on consumer behaviour. The first one is the economic recession. Teodor Lia from Vodaphone Romania tells us, “The crisis has deepen the need to base marketing decisions on reliable research data. Thus clients require more customised solutions and a very good knowledge of the market.” Also, Romanian consumers get more up to speed to the west. Their consumption patterns are evolving and it is important to grasp these behavioural and attitudinal changes. The final challenge is on understanding the digital consumer. Romania is one of the leading countries worldwide when it comes to internet penetration. Understanding this generation of ‘digi-natives’ is crucial to be competitive in the future. Clients rationalise that the recipe for positive sales trends and profit margins relies on gathering, in the shortest period of time, consumer information to give to the company the flexibility to adapt to the rapid market changes.
It is clear that we have many challenges ahead. In order to cope with the transformations in this industry, we will have a need for bright young people to join our industry. But how is the perception of youngsters in this region on market research? Find out more on the future generation of researchers in the final blog post in this series (to be published next week)! Or follow theESOMAR CEE Research event via #esoCEE.