Is market research more than it’s cracked up to be?

Back to Blog

Is market research more than it’s cracked up to be?
Posted on October 17, 2012 by Iosetta Santini

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Discourse abounds regarding the place of “big data” within market research as the industry groans and shifts under the weight of an influx of data which is increasing at an unprecedented rate. But has market research done enough groaning or shifting to meet the needs of ‘big data’? And do we need a new definition of what market research is or even a new nomenclature for the industry? The Market Research Society looks into this in their recent report in which they estimate the new role of market research as, “defining the ‘business of evidence’.” The thorough report, which stakes an MRX flag in the economic grounds of competing industries such as core film, music, etc., argues market research can “no longer be defined as ‘market research,’ as the industry is embracing “legitimate, sophisticated, and contemporary research activities” that have “up till now been mainly excluded from definition as market research.” More than taking on new activities, though, the report points out just how much revenue the UK industry produces in the UK. The estimate is that MRX contributes roughly £3bn (Gross Value Added) to the economy and employs up to 60,000 folks (that’s more than the UK Newspaper and Music industries combined!) compared to the old MRX definition which employed around 40,000 people, and contributed 0.2% to the UK GDP.


It appears, then, that with the largest and latest surge of available and processable data the world has yet to see, the market research industry is keeping up just fine. But if we are not market researchers, what are we? Data directors? Customer gatekeepers? Insighters? Data giants? Answers on a post card please!

(Side Note: see what Vision Critical‘s Ray Poynter has to say about a few “plasters” the industry is using as it struggles, though successfully, to run along-side “big data.”)

You can find the original MRS report here.