Introduction

This study explores the changing working practices among leading market researchers seeking to take advantage of digital technology. Although much research has focused on the ways that researchers can exploit new digital data sources such as transactional databases, online tracking and behavioral data from smartphones and other Internet devices, the marketing research industry has also been exploring how to utilize similar technologies to design bespoke primary research projects for their clients. For example, rather than harvesting naturalistic data from online message boards or social networks, brands may create their own message boards to replace traditional diary studies. Such innovation has received less attention in the literature but are the focus of this article.

It presents an analysis of semi-structured, key-informant interviews (N = 44) with design, digital, branding, and marketing researchers in London, UK. Respondents were asked to describe their perception of and experiences using digital technology and to highlight the challenges and concerns they face when using both primary and secondary forms of digital data.