The Tech Boom: The Case for MRX
- July 22, 2013
No matter what industry or country you operate in, responding to an evolving marketplace has always been the key to business success. Rather than merely best practice, adapting to rapid change now determines whether customers stay or retreat. Gone is the luxury of slowly absorbing change. Innovate or die: NOW.
A century ago, a man from North Carolina opened a hardware store that sold notions, dry goods and groceries. He capitalized on the post World War II building boom by expanding his product mix to include more hardware and building materials. The store succeeded, so he opened more locations across the country. The store changed its format in the ‘80s to address competitive threats and consumers’ new-found love of the ‘big box.’
Hello dotcom. The retailer responded with a robust e-commerce site. Online shoppers needed customer support; the store opened a call center. Consumers began visiting stores with mobile devices in hand; so now upwards of 40,000 employees roam stores with mobile devices too.
Bottom line: when consumer expectations grew and the market demanded the retailer evolve and expand, the store—supported by a sharp insights team—rose to the challenge.
It’s budget time for many companies across the globe, and researchers will soon try to justify their recommendations and defend their proposed budgets. Despite others’ gloomy forecasts for market research, we think now is when research budgets should explode. Precisely because the bedrock beneath our feet is gone, and because business grows ever more complex and competitive should companies leverage research now more than ever.
Good, actionable research will be the flashlight in the dark, allowing companies to understand the current social landscape where mobile and digital trends shape human expectations. Companies, from the boardroom to the front line, must understand how consumer experiences measure against these expectations and influence customers’ brand judgments and future purchases.
Let’s make sure budget approvers understand how research and consumer insights provide foresight and:
- Help size the prize and quantify the risks of starting new or dropping older strategies.
- Indentify the white space and determine the optimal path to seize opportunities.
- Connect with customers’ humanity, answering: what makes them tick? How do they feel? How do customers’ attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors intersect? What does this mean for our brands, and to competitors’ brands? What actions should we take?
Research has an important place in the emerging world of social, big data, mobile and whatever comes next. Then, researchers should stand tall in budget meetings, knowing their insights and developments could propel their clients to industry leadership. There is much work to do, but there always has been: before, it was a building boom. Now, it’s a technology boom. We are not the first generation to be challenged. Bring on the unknowns. It’s our turn to step it up and never stop improving.