On a recent trip, a senior marketing executive asked me how we could ever hope to identify breakthrough insights if everyone in the fmcg world was using the same suppliers and same standardised research methodologies.
I started thinking why we keep doing what we have always done, and, yes, get what we have always gotten, yet persist in doing the same. I could think of three reasons: standardisation, outsourcing and blame avoidance.
Once upon a time, there used to be many small research agencies specialising in niche areas of research, some were local and a few regional. Identifying new methodologies and suppliers was part of the researcher's job. Research methodologies are now being standardised for maximum efficiency, like detergent boxes and shampoo bottles.