What skills should market researchers focus on in 2022?
With the world of market research is constantly changing, the rapid shift to digital and the need to uncover insights faster than ever before, market researchers must once again up their game and polish their skills. In this blog, we take a look at the key capabilities researchers and organizations need to succeed in the future.
Market research in today's world
In a bid to understand constantly changing consumer behavior, especially over the last few years, organizations have embraced emerging market research technologies and shifted to tech-enabled insights. From autonomous tools and natural language processing to APIs and platformification, market research and statistical software are evolving at an incredible pace.
And they’re giving researchers deeper, more meaningful insights than ever before. With these capabilities, market research professionals can forecast future trends, understand consumer behavior, and develop more robust and scalable research strategies.
But are researchers themselves keeping up? As these technologies and platforms empower individuals and teams to glean insights, are market researchers keeping their skills up to date — and if not, what are they missing out on?
Understanding the problems
According to our 2022 Market Research Trends report, despite 67% of organizations investing heavily in new technologies, many cite a lack of market research skills and training as what’s preventing them from leveraging insights and creating effective strategies.
These findings coincide with research conducted by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Qualtrics. Forrester Consulting found that 75% of organizations outsource their tactical market research work, e.g. qualitative and quantitative data analysis to uncover opportunities, due to skill gaps.
While outside perspectives can be helpful in certain circumstances, it’s clear that outsourcing appears to stem more from gaps in in-house capabilities. The challenge, then, is ensuring that organizations onboard the right people with the right market research skills to execute on strategies.
So how can organizations bridge the gap? What are the key skills that modern market researchers need to have to improve research projects?
Market research skills organizations are prioritizing in 2022
In 2021, the three most sought after skills were statistical analysis, integrating multiple data sources, and online qualitative research skills — and that remains consistent in 2022. These skills enable market researchers to assess market conditions, analyze data and come up with the right strategies.
The top three most coveted market research skills in 2022 are:
Statistical analysis skills
Always in demand, statistical analysis skills comprise the likes of statistical modeling, data collection strategies, data visualization and presentation, reconfiguration, Excel, R, SAS, Python — the list goes on.
The reason why these skills are so sought after — more so than ever, is because organizations are doubling-down on market research technologies, and many lack the people they need to make use of them.
For example, a market research analyst can look at product performance data — e.g. the amount sold versus stock over a period of time, and cross-reference that data with seasonality, consumer preferences, consumer behavior and more to identify the factors affecting product demand.
Online qualitative skills
These skills refer to designing, conducting and assessing data drawn from online interviews, observations, materials, reports, focus groups and other methods of qualitative research. Also, as a result of the pandemic and remote/hybrid work — and the focus on understanding expectations — organizations are looking for researchers with great interview skills as the dynamics of interviewing virtually are different to in person.
But as well as carrying out interviews, qualitative researchers are responsible for prospecting, designing research programmes, writing proposals (or problem statements), managing relationships, identifying audiences and panels, analyzing the data, presenting briefings and findings — and much more.
As organizations start to integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches through platformification, it’s essential that they have people with the right qualitative skill sets to best scrutinize findings.
For example, while quantitative research involves working with numerical data, combining it with quantitative data (and having the skills to assess both), will give organizations deeper insight into customer behavior, intent, preferences, trends and opportunities. This means you can comb through open-text responses using advanced analytics and combine that information with numerical data to get clearer conclusions.
Data integration skills
This one is particularly important for modern organizations using digital technologies for market research. Data integration, on any research project, can be very complex — especially if market researchers are pulling and interpreting data from multiple sources.
Data integration skills are also essential for closing experience gaps, something that every organization is prioritizing in 2022.
The best researchers have a thorough understanding of how to extract information and combine data sets without compromising data quality. They’ll also understand how to structure APIs, use spreadsheets, model data, use statistical analytics programs and coding languages, and more. Of course, with newer market research platforms, much of this can be done with ease.
Looking for technical consulting services to support your next market research project, collect data, evaluate methods and provide precise data analysis? Check out our research services.
What else can market researchers and organizations do?
Having the right technology is just as important as the right market research skills. Even the most qualified of researchers will struggle to execute as quickly as today’s market demands without the right tools.
The majority of organizations are investing in market research technologies — but the future of market research lies not in disconnected, disparate solutions, but singular platforms that empower researchers and teams, regardless of their level of skill.
What we mean by this is something called “Platformification”, a term synonymous with tech-driven insight. Platformification enables organizations to streamline and combine established research methods, collaborative solutions, data sources, reporting and advanced analytics to get to the crux of insights.
Teams can surface and share learnings quickly through role-based dashboards — providing basic or detailed insights and recommendations based on job level or department. They can also use more advanced statistical analysis tools — all without skills or training — to elevate findings.
But for market researchers, platformification provides incredible opportunities to transform their jobs from reactive to proactive. Suddenly, researchers can produce insights on demand and for every part of the organization, connecting both qualitative and quantitative research capabilities to uncover new opportunities. With these capabilities, researchers move from just collating and analyzing data to providing strategic recommendations that help close gaps and transform experiences across the buyer’s journey.
If we think about a market researcher’s skills, the basic requirements still persist — but platformification makes it so that their role and responsibility is so much more integral to everything the organization does.
To find out more about how market researchers can address skills challenges, as well as the trends shaping market research, download our 2022 Market Research Trends report below.
Learn more about the 2022 market research trends and challenges
July 8, 2022