written by Jessica Smith
While reading my husband’s (not mine!) AARP Bulletin, there was an article on things that they believe will vanish in the next 50 years. 50 years seems a long way off, but even the youngest of research professionals currently know of and probably even use some of the things on the “vanishing list” including toilet paper, piggy banks, analog clocks & watches, cursive, and gas pumps. They predict that business cards, desktops, passwords, USPS mail, landline phones, and physical media (Blu-ray discs, thumb drives etc), will make “Americans wax nostalgic”.
Already almost gone from our everyday business lives are printed telephone directories and rolodexes. Think about it – 10 years ago, social media & iPads did not exist, and while smart phones get credit for being developed by IBM in 1992, they certainly were not common place, or have today’s functionalities, 10 years ago. What does this all have to do with market research? As technology advances and replaces what we know today, ultimately changing our lives, we need to morph our thinking on how we conduct research. There is a pretty interesting Cambiar Oct 2011 release talking about the ‘Future of Research’ where they say “we are moving beyond the era when market research was about asking, measuring and analyzing” and the “mining of existing knowledge” will be the main kind of market research conducted in the future as opposed to new research projects. As researchers, we need to experiment with new ways of gathering data or else we ‘vanish’ into history like film and printed encyclopedias. Researchers: get out your “magic eight ball”: How do you think we conduct market research in the future?