By James Rogers, Managing Director APAC, PureSpectrum

With the constant fear of market pressures and looming inflation, there is a developing need for astute research agencies and brands to consolidate and implement significant changes into their fieldwork provision practices for 2023–2024.

Many are taking the approach of controlling their budgets at the project level, or are looking to engage in scaled discount agreements with their existing suppliers. However, there are those who are taking the opportunity to innovate, allowing them to focus on driving value to their customers by removing a lot of the day-to-day that is not core to their brand offering.

Adopting ResearchTech

It is those players who are embracing technology-based research operations in their truest form, and who are enabling their own teams to focus on their core business and expertise – i.e. the reason their clients buy from them.

ResearchTech continues to provide efficiencies. However, for the most part, these ‘efficiencies’ have been lauded by procurement teams that are able to drive down unit costs and speed, risking the quality of delivery and service. Given the implications of the financial situation our markets will face over the next few years, it is imperative that these discussions extend beyond cost control and start looking at the vision and development of real partnerships.

It should be noted that ResearchTech itself embodies much more than do-it-yourself UIs and complicated AI algorithms. It provides the ability for everybody to understand, organise, and simplify how they work, to operate smarter and create business sustainability via thought-out process innovation. Utilising the best tools at hand can help achieve fundamental improvements and operating cost reductions beyond just lowering CPIs, which is why these advances are here to stay.

Marketplaces and more

One way to achieve business sustainability has been seen through the rise of marketplaces, with the introduction of multi-sourcing. There has been a clear acknowledgement of the advantages this can bring to an organisation, including bringing time and cost control in-house, and it has become an asset to remaining competitive in a demanding landscape. However, with layoffs and redundancies prevalent in our daily intake of social media streams, it is imperative that we all understand not to expect the same results with this alone – we need to adapt faster. Our clients need help and we cannot just rely on platforms; we must offer up best-in-class experiences in tandem so that we can help to fill the void.

Longer-term view

Another more traditional format for establishing sustainable practices has been the consolidation of multiple providers, whether via the aforementioned marketplaces or simply through long-term business partnerships, looking at mutually beneficial agreements for both parties. This can include anything from sample provision to managed services, depending on the primary ‘buyer’. The key factor here is not cost reduction but trust and value-add built via clear objectives.

A future glance

For those looking to go one step further, we are seeing the creation of private marketplaces. This in effect consolidates all of their existing partners into one single platform with the ability to maintain individual commercial relationships. It is relatively simple and efficient but not commonplace. Why? The answer lies somewhere between tradition and pricing. Very few organisations are truly looking for business transformation; many lack the infrastructure or the willingness to push through legacy models of working in order to reap the ultimate benefits.

Of course, not all organisations can adopt these measures, likely because they are uniquely focused, ad hoc, or provide something others cannot. But for those who can change and do not, it is going to be a rocky road ahead, and as we have seen with COVID-19, not all will survive this.

Quality first

That being said, efficiency without quality is a downward spiral, so it is imperative for due diligence to be undertaken. Looking at marketplaces specifically (as this is what PureSpectrum provides), we know that poor restrictions across hundreds of sources have significant implications for data bias and what this means for client recommendations.

PureSpectrum’s recent research-on-research exercise looking at the impact of PureScore (PureSpectrum’s respondent behaviour-based quality barometer) clearly derived that by excluding low-score respondents before the survey stage, there is a 50% reduction in poor responses. In summary, by blocking known offenders (from one source to the next at the IP, device and behavioural level), unnecessary risk is removed, in turn increasing confidence in the data collected, better equipping researchers to make more confident decisions.

Looking ahead across the next two years, we will see new challenges to the research industry, some commercial and some data and quality focused. It is important that we strive to be bold with ResearchTech and also build long-term efficiencies with quality-focused partners that will enable us all to ride this out together.

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research marketplace and insights platform, helping insights professionals to make decisions more efficiently and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognised for their industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum has developed the industry’s first and only respondent-level scoring system, PureScore™, creating a new standard of data quality for the industry.

This article was first published in the Q4 2022 edition of Asia Research Media

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