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State of Sample: GRIT Report Analysis

18 Jul Posted by in Cactus Call | Comments Off on State of Sample: GRIT Report Analysis
State of Sample: GRIT Report Analysis

The 19th edition of the GRIT Report using data collected in Q1 and Q2 of 2016 was published earlier this year. This was the most comprehensive sample size yet with 2,144 completed interviews.  Topics ranged from the ever-increasing role of automation in the research community to the future of sampling, as well as the general adoption of newer technologies, methods, opportunities and even threats in the industry.  The results are as informative and provocative as ever.

The Market Research Community seems to finally be implementing strategies around mobile.  According to GRIT, Mobile is now mainstream with over 74% of companies using it and another 17% considering it.  Probably no big surprise and this finding follows the trend to which we are all at least passively aware:  wide adoption of new technology and methodologies is happening all around us; everything from analytics to behavioral economics, it is everywhere and it seems to only be getting better!

Yet, something still remains its old self.   Even with all this seeming optimism everywhere else in the industry sample providers seem to be missing the mark.

  • When 2,144 of the industry’s professionals were asked if “sample is getting better or worse?”, the answer was a resounding “NO!”
  • If you were in a full service firm, focus facility or a corporate researcher 42% hold this view.
  • If you worked for a data collection or sample provider, however, you were much more likely to say “yes.”

Sample quality is a perennial topic (and maybe it always will be) but with optimism abounding, what’s with the disconnect?  It doesn’t logically make any sense, does it?  We have access to more people now than ever before.  We have improved technology, fraud detection and sourcing capabilities.   We can engage people via mobile phone; we can use text analytics; we can run eye tracking and facial analysis; we can passively track clickstream data, and biometric responses, we can validate people in real-time against 3rd party data bases, and we can do so more quickly, and cheaply than ever before.   We can do all this cool stuff, it seems, but it as of yet that does not seem to help.

And what’s even worse, when asked what sample providers could do about it, answers seemed to vary dramatically.  According to GRIT, the responses were most related to the company size of the person responding. Across every category tested, large firms seemed to expect less of sample providers and to cede more control or authority to them, suggesting that smaller firms tended to have a more consultative partnership with them.

In the end, the GRIT report suggests that at least in the short term there is no solution in sight.  Self-interest continues to rule the day and so the sad conclusion is that maybe it is just that despite this collective challenge by far too many people we just have too many differing problems with it to make any progress; at least not on an industry-wide scale.

But maybe that’s it.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe the industry can’t solve this one with one fell swoop.  Maybe instead of a company positioned and concerned with serving every one of their client’s needs on a one-size-fits-all basis, we need someone who can take each client on their own and react to their own unique and individual needs quickly and effectively; someone who takes the time to get to know them.

Maybe it’s not that accessibility to sample and reach are worse, maybe it is that people feel that while it is not exactly what they need, there is nothing they can do about it so they just have to make due.  It is now just a necessary evil.   Hopefully, the new entrants and innovators into the game will be unafraid to tackle this challenge and pull us out of this “death spiral” to which the GRIT Report says we are spiraling.

  • Tom Littlejohn is Vice President of Client Solutions at Critical Mix and Director at Large for the Southwest Marketing Research Association.
  • The GRIT Report is created and published by GreenBook Market Research Directory