Last night saw the staging of a hugely important and stimulating debate - no, not Round Two of The Three Stooges in Bristol - but the Admap Roundtable on The Future of Research.
This follows a similar event that Admap held recently on The Future of Planning, and which was summarised in the February issue of Admap.
BBH kindly hosted the event, which was moderated by Wendy Gordon of Acacia Avenue. The panel was represented by all areas of the client and agency research industry and comprised: Rhidian Taylor, marketing director, Barclaycard; Sarah Fryer, head of insight, McDonald's; Paul Edwards, CEO, TNS/Ipsos; Mark Radcliffe of Murmur; Yvonne O'Brien, managing partner, insight, at UM London; Rebecca Wynberg of the Wy Consultancy; Richard Helyar of BBH; and Sid Simmons.
All agreed that online research had changed their lives and would continue to do so. Some questioned the value of continuing with traditional focus group research, other than it was an easily justifiable income stream for research agencies.
Clients said that, looking to the future, they wanted more genuine insight and less data, and insight that made sense of all the mass of data available from the huge range of sources, including the internet, mobile and loyalty cards. Agencies predictably questioned how they would be remunerated for such insight and questioned whether researchers should become more like planners.
There was a common view that research needs to become more holistic - we shouldn't be researching consumers as shoppers, TV viewers, housewives etc, but as whole rounded people with all their varied behaviours.
New skills are also going to be needed in such areas as econometrics; and an acceptance that research is moving towards 24/7 continuous immediacy.
The Admap Roundtable will be summarized in the July/August edition of Admap, out at the end of June.
The Focus theme of the issue is The Future of Research and it will also include features on Online Research and Social Media by Ray Pointer; Research in Developing Markets by Gonzalo Fuentes of Millward Brown; Innovation in the Global Research Industry by Walker Smith of The Futures Company; Client Research Needs by Stan Sthanunathan of Coca-Cola; and the History of Research by Sheila Keegan of Keegan Cambell.
You can subscribe to the issue at www.warc.com/admap.