Insights industry: The tech vendors remix

A clear distinction between the Market Research sector and the Data Analytics sector is that the latter is yet to bind its stakeholders with a globally recognised and pervaded industry association like ESOMAR.

6 min read
insights industry the tech vendors remix

A clear distinction between the Market Research sector and the Data Analytics sector is that the latter is yet to bind its stakeholders with a globally recognised and pervaded industry association like ESOMAR.

This article is an extract from the Global Data Analytics 2023 report. Download the report to read the authors’ perspective in more detail.

The impact of tech vendors on the market research analytics landscape

The market research sector is going through a transformative phase. No longer are consumer insights confined to the more traditional players in this space. Instead, a digital revolution, accelerated by technology firms, is disrupting the industry, bringing a wave of data analytics and redefining what market research entails.

Disruptors in the field

In this digital age, significant contenders have appeared in all Data Analytics segments, including Digital Data Analytics, Social Listening and Communities, Self-serve Research Platforms, and Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM).

Prominent Digital Data Analytics vendors, like Salesforce or Adobe, and EFM vendors, like Medallia or Verint, are changing the data collection and interpretation ecosystem, placing themselves at the convergence point of technology and research. Each carries its unique value proposition that is pushing the boundaries of Established Market Research. They provide a comprehensive view of customer interactions, enhance sales conversion rates, and deliver more streamlined customer service. EFM solutions allow marketing teams to design and execute personalised market campaigns and measure their success.

While any data can be used for insights creation, companies in this sector draw parallels to the Market Research field and could be categorised as such, as they engage in systematic data collection and analysis.

Leading Social Listening and Communities (also known as Social Media Analytics, or SMA) tools like Talkwalker, Sprinklr, and Brandwatch (acquired by Cision in 2021) are some of the other disruptors in the insights space. Traditionally, these tools were built to monitor the performance of brands' content on their social media handles. However, the past decade or so has seen Social Media Monitoring tools rapidly expanding their capabilities to Consumer Insights. Their ability to extract and structure User-generated Content (UGC) is what makes SMA tools suitable for Market Research purposes.

Market research agencies, naturally, are not oblivious to this fact and have, in turn, developed their own SMA tools or acquired emerging companies in the segment and are now offering these tools within their portfolio.

Another category worth looking into is highly specialised small and medium-sized providers, which challenge the business model of established market research agencies. Examples of this include service providers, which may use digital data to track brand performance instead of relying on primary methods of data collection like surveys or startups leveraging social and digital data streams to understand trends.

Categorising the expanding horizon of the Insights Industry

To structure this evolution within the insights landscape and how these vendors fit into that domain, their contribution can be divided into three categories: data generation, data analytics/synthesising, and data distribution.

Data generation is the first step in this value chain, where raw data is collected. The scalability of analytics vendors has caused a paradigm shift in this regard by amassing extensive datasets from diverse sources. Digital data analytics and EFM vendors collect a wide range of data, including personal, behavioural and transaction data.

Then comes the data analytics/synthesising phase: the processing and analysis of raw data to extract meaningful insights. Advanced analytics toolkits, coupled with AI-powered systems, offer timely and increasingly accurate insights based on the data. These vendors open up new opportunities by connecting databases and data sources, bringing additional context in real-time.

Lastly, data distribution is the process through which these insights are shared across the organisation. This includes shared dashboards, real-time reporting tools, and knowledge management systems that allow organisations to access, understand, and make decisions based on insights. Companies like NorthernLights, MarketLogic, and offer organisations a way to harness these insights and inform their decisions.

However, many companies within these categories can be understood to play across these three spaces, with different clients using different capabilities. For example, businesses using SMA tools primarily for monitoring brand performance can use them for end-to-end brand monitoring, from data extraction to synthesis, including self-serve dashboards.

The technological paradigm shift in the Insights Industry

Technology vendors have been driving a transformative wave in the market research and insights sphere for the past decade and accelerating the process by significantly reshaping the scale of data collection, refining data analytics, and recalibrating the type of insights generated.

The gateway that these vendors have opened is vast. These platforms enable businesses to track and monitor customer interactions in real time. This significantly expands the operational scope of the insights industry from smaller, controlled cohorts to tremendously larger uncontrolled populations. The sheer magnitude of data pooled through these systems shines a lens on consumer behaviour patterns that were hard, if not impossible, to capture with traditional data collection methods.

The automated, real-time analytics that these vendors provide, coupled with machine learning and AI capabilities, offer unprecedented speed and efficiency for data analysis. These tools can identify market trends, consumer preferences, and points of strategy modification in real-time, allowing for agile business decisions and enhanced responsiveness to market changes.

Finally, and most pertinently, is the shift in insights generated. These data analytics firms often rely on behavioural data and can facilitate a more comprehensive view of the customer journey and offer an in-depth understanding of customer motivations and behaviours.

The way forward

Tech vendors are changing the market research and insights industry. We are at the start of a new era that blends traditional understanding with tech-enhanced insights, giving an unprecedented depth to market research.

It is an exciting period that calls for embracing these new vendors and a keen focus on translating the wealth of data into actionable insights by understanding complexities, spotting trends, and helping in strategic and informed decision-making. The age of technology in market research has well and truly arrived, and we're heading into an era of endless possibilities.

Curious to learn more about the Data Analytics sector? Get your copy of the Global Data Analytics report today.

Patricio Pagani
Founder at The Black Puma
Reineke Reitsma
Head of Data and Technology at Ipsos