The Research Industry Needs to Embrace Radical Change in Order to Thrive and Survive in the Digital Era

Tom Woodnutt and Richard Owen
Hall & Partners


The research industry needs to evolve in order to weather the digital storm of change that threatens to engulf it. The industry has the objectivity, expertise and client relationships to survive. However, it is stuck using out-dated models, old techniques and has an – at times – overly purist, scientific mindset. In order to thrive, it needs to (when appropriate) act like a 'brand touchpoint', update its metrics, methods, reporting and become 'data curators' by embracing and integrating new information sources. Otherwise its relevance to clients' businesses will diminish and new types of competitors will become clients' primary partners for insight. We must ensure that we are the 'aggregators' not just the 'aggregated'.

This paper analyses the research industry's position in the new digital era, by exploring the key strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. Our intention is to inspire the industry to navigate through the challenges ahead.