11 Key Trends Evolving Market Research

Today, I had the opportunity to keynote at The Advertising Research Foundation meeting on Audience Measurement in Jersey City.

In my keynote, I addressed eleven trends that are increasing the value of market research, redefining what we mean by the term “research” and how media, behavior and machine learning are teaming up to make it possible for insights we could only dream of a few years ago.

Here are the eleven trends.

#1 – Human beings are telling us exactly who matters, what they want and why.  Earned and shared media hold the clues that can make paid and owned more powerful.

#2 – The 1,9,90 model works worldwide.  We’ve been banging on this important media model for a decade.  It works as well in China as in Brazil as in the UK.  We know who tells the story.  We know who shares the story.  We know who impacts SEO.

#3 – We can identify and track our exact audience online.  The emergence of audience architecture allows us to “align” with our audience, rather than “promote” to it.  This is more important than ever, as we leave a 2016 election season where 72% of voters said their primary source of candidate information was Facebook, up from 12% in 2012, according to Brad Parscale, who led the digital work for the Trump Campaign.

#4 – The ability to micro-segment is game-changing in how we target our audience.  We are flipping the segmentation model on its head.

#5 – The personality of each audience becomes clear over time.  Which words accelerate, decelerate or change behavior?  More importantly, how do you measure silence or apathy?  Time points and lack of movement are often more revealing than actual use of words in a community.

#6 – Our brains prefer to learn visually first, text second.  How video is evolving and what it means for agile campaigns is a critical new skillset.

#7 – We can finally determine what WOM is really all about.  We can see which people have influence on a specific topic in a specific town and what content type they prefer.   Prospective planning of WOM is possible.

And there are four important trends that are emerging as we speak.

#8 – We are entering the era of “object influence”.  The shift is from “strings to things”.  Strings link words.  Things like objects.

#9 – We will learn how to tell stories without words.  We are doing this, to a degree, via Instagram, Snapchat and our use of emoji’s.  This can make it easier for comprehension (we like visual content) and can cut through language barriers in new ways as we globalize.

#10 – We can see how thought leadership has shaped a category over a period of years.  We can see exactly which publications and people make the difference, which may not be related, at all, to the perceived power of certain publications.

#11 — A new form of ESO-driven media planning will optimize media budgets. If we know exactly what customers want, where they hang out and who they respect, we can also see outlets won’t perform BEFORE we spend.

We are entering a new era that will continue to enable us to evolve media models and derive a wider and more precise set of insights.  The hard part will be evolving the status quo approaches to marketing and communications as our intelligence and market knowledge explodes.

Best, Bob

Bob Pearson
Bob Pearson
Vice Chairman & Chief Innovation Officer
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