Research Disintermediation: How Insights is Keeping Up with Changes in Consumerism


Last weekend, my husband and I took our two little ones to a children’s museum. Inside, they had a “vintage technology” section that featured things like tape recorders, VCRs, and pay phones. After getting over the initial shock of feeling extremely old, I asked my three-year-old if she knew what the pay phone was. She looked at it for a beat and said, “It looks like a crazy microphone.” I guess, while she was technically kind of right, it reminded me just how fast things can change. Less than twenty years ago, pay phones were everywhere, with high school kids like me calling collect, to their home phone, just to say as fast as they could, “movie over, come get me.” And then, you just had to wait. Remember waiting? Waiting with nothing else to do, but just wait. Humans no longer have to “just wait.” We have our phones to help pass the time, with texting, games, music, the list goes on.

In such a short time, the human experience has changed exponentially. Cell phones now can do all the things that the “vintage technology” section did – and it fits in your hand. We can record anything, watch a movie, make a call, grocery shop, socialize, and even buy a car all from the same device. Technology-first products and solutions continue to revolutionize the way we consume services throughout all industries. Within the last decade, the average American attention span has shrunk to just eight seconds, less than that of a goldfish. We can no longer wait for anything; we need access and answers now. We demand instant gratification.

In the past, the insights industry had not been forced to scale for change as rapidly as everyday life. However, in just the last two years, we have seen the rising demand for the evolution of the research experience to meet the needs of a growing customer base. New trends and shrinking attention spans are disrupting business models and forcing speed prioritization that is both tech-enabled and customer centric.

We are no longer the exception. Customers are evolving and require proactive and fast access to answers for their business questions. While traditional research was a luxury of big businesses, insights has evolved into a tool used by people across all industries and company sizes. Our customers are changing, and both research and sampling best practices are facing disintermediation.

As of the latest ESOMAR Buyer Report, about 50% of all research is now conducted via internal research, with the expectation that it will continue to grow. Traditional market research is a labor of love, of experts, and of time, but internal researchers typically are not experts of ideal questionnaire design, specialists in research methodology, nor are they willing or have the time to wait for complex data sets. However, they do have real research-related questions that need faster answers to inform better decision-making. The rise of the tech-enabled research space now makes up over $47 billion of the addressable world market according to ESOMAR’s 2020 Buyer Report, with over $27 billion in North America alone. With a growing market and new business requirements, it begs the question, how do we meet this demand?

There is plenty of excellent software that exists for the new research journey in the market already, but the expertise and training to use them properly is often lacking. Nevertheless, the use of survey platforms and data integration tools are on the rise, with around 65% of companies using them internally for insights (ESOMAR 2021 Buyer User Study).

While tech-enabled products are supposed to create productivity and streamlined experiences, the use of these tools is arguably complicating the research experience. In the United States, the average number of tools used per company is 5.4 and 4.2 worldwide (ESOMAR 2021 Buyer User Study). Five tools to complete the lifecycle of a research project…that is jaw dropping. We are back to needing a phone, a camera, a tape recorder, a Walkman, and a map. Personally, I want an iPhone: an integrated end-to-end solution to streamline the research experience.

InnovateMR’s new Vision Suite™ gives anyone with questions access to faster answers, empowering them to make better business decisions with end-to-end solutions. Our next generation suite of products is designed to execute against all aspects of the research process. Inclusive of survey design, sample procurement, field management, fraud mitigation and reporting, the Vision Suite™ enables the unfamiliar to become familiar for faster answers with confidence.

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As an industry veteran of 10+ years, Amanda Keller-Grill specializes in res-tech product innovation, programmatic solutions, executive leadership, client delivery, sample design, platforms, and automation. Amanda has extensive leadership experience across diverse roles, affording her a comprehensive understanding of customer requirements, and the rising demand for the evolution of the research experience.

As SVP of Global Innovation and Product Strategy at InnovateMR, Amanda has a passion for building scalable products and technology-enabled solutions. Amanda is responsible for product innovation, strategy, and development, and strives to ensure exceptional product and customer experience. 

InnovateMR is a fiercely independent sampling company that delivers Faster Answers™ from business and consumer audiences. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR connects organizations with market research audiences around the world to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. InnovateMR has built its reputation on a relentless pursuit of customer delight. Stop working with vendors, and start working with a partner dedicated to your success. 

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About InnovateMR – InnovateMR is a full-service sampling and ResTech company that delivers faster, quality insights from business and consumer audiences utilizing cutting-edge technologies to support agile research. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR provides world-class end-to-end survey programming, targeted international sampling, qualitative and quantitative insights, and customized consultation services to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. Known for their celebrated status in customer service and results, InnovateMR combines boutique-level service with extensive global reach to achieve partner success.