NEW YORK: Marketing research is entering a new era defined by both unprecedented opportunities and challenges, according to a leading industry figure.

Gayle Fuguitt, president/ceo of the Advertising Research Foundation, discussed this subject during a keynote presentation at the ARF's 2014 Re:Think conference, which was held in New York.

"There's an opportunity for us to become the new researcher. And I believe that there's never actually been a better time," she said.

"Just look at all the things that we're encountering in our environment." (For more, including how the ARF is adapting to the new era in marketing research, read Warc's exclusive article: ARF's Fuguitt welcomes Re:Think delegates to a new era of research.)

Executives in the C-suite, Fuguitt continued, are placing greater demands than ever on researchers as they seek to tap into the deluge of consumer data now available.In the "dynamic new media landscape", she asserted, "the red phone [in our offices] is ringing, because we're the people in the know."

The questions being asked span everything from identifying the correct media mix to enhancing measurement techniques, anticipating how shopper habits might change and balancing the human with the automated.

"There's honestly never been a harder time for marketing research, because there are so many new roles. Are they scientists? Is research still art plus science?

"Do people make decisions? Or [do we rely on] machines for programmatic buying? What privacy risks do we have?"

In response, the ARF has outlined a three-point roadmap for the future, embracing its strategy, core areas of focus and monitoring various future trends that will be of vital importance.

The organization also plans to open an office in San Francisco, which will mean "you don't have to come to New York City in order to be connected with us."

Data sourced from Warc