Agile marketing research – myth or reality?

Agile is buzzing, with terms like scrum, backlog planning and sprints being thrown around without any real meaning, even in marketing research, where words like agile and lean are increasingly part of a researcher’s glossary. Yet, in many cases it merely refers to the notion of speedy or automated research (processes).
Operating in this VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), the need for agile solutions has never been so high. Yet the traditional research cycles are often too heavy. To cope with this quest for leaner research solutions, the market research industry, just like many other industries, has laid eye on the principles behind agile product development.
The core lies in moving away from a plan-set-optimize-launch-learn research approach to a more ongoing do-learn mentality, this by gathering cross-functional teams that work on a series of short iterative cycles and incorporate instant feedback so as to deliver fitting solutions. Truly agile research however is not only about speed or automation. It is also about adopting a new mindset and structurally incorporating consumer feedback.
Adopt flexible goal setting and research objectives.
Rather than defining a whole research track up-front, work in iterative loops, where you start a project with a few questions and move towards the next loop based on learnings or additional questions from the previous loop.
Keep the focus on the business challenge
Far too often, research is set up using a method focus as an entrance point. Yet, the traditional method distinction fades in agile research, where a research need is captured through a fusion approach.
Minimum viable feedback
Just like agile product development strives to create a minimum viable product that serves as a base for further optimization and feedback, agile research shifts the focus from gathering representative centralized feedback to small pulses on the go from people that want to share their opinion.
Snackable insights
In a world of data wealth, research often fuels this abundance of findings and insights which often end up in long and boring PowerPoint reports. By working with small loops, insights can come in bite-size formats, allowing for increased digestibility and co-creation initiatives with end clients.
We, as an industry, are at a crossroad where we can rethink and shift our entire business, from implementation to reporting, and explore new sustainable paths. What does agile mean for our industry and what is the role of research automation in all of this? Those are some of the question we will answer in our next blogpost.

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