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The Hub


Will the latest marketing trend benefit the research industry?

As the stock pile of buzzwords grows for 2016, I’ve been waiting to see what takes hold and becomes the next big thing.

My career began when the war between shopper and consumer raged hard. Specialist agencies popped up to satisfy the shopper boom. As the dust settles, the concept has earned its place and shapes how research and marketing is approached today.


So far this year there hasn’t been such a stir, in fact I haven’t witnessed such a stir for a while.  People have called for the axing of segmentation labels and others are pushing for more focus on customer mind-set but that’s nothing new.


The biggest hype I’ve seen is around customer experience. Again nothing new to most, but none the less, customer experience has peaked at the top of the marketing agenda (again) for 2016.


In terms of how this affects our industry, it’s a big thumbs-up from me.


Customer experience is our life blood; it’s an area in which our industry thrives. No need for fancy techniques or specialist pop up agencies, we know customer experience inside out, we’re specialists!


From product testing to accompanied shops, satisfaction surveys to focus groups, whatever the methodology might be – as research practitioners we’ve been deriving insight from customer experience, to improve customer experience, for as long as I know.


Our processes have improved and they will continue to do so naturally, but as far as a knee jerk reaction being required to satisfy the latest marketing hype, we simply don’t need one.


With it being the year of customer experience, a few things we might expect to see:

  • A more omni-channel focus. As customers connect with companies in more ways than ever before, creating clear messaging and tone of voice is key for many.
  • More focus on micro data. Big data has certainly made its mark but with people reverting back to consumer mind-set, micro data looks at individual patterns and preferences which could better inform customer experience.
  • Lots of Mobile research. With mobile overtaking desktop traffic and social media channels establishing themselves as a viable connection route between brands and customers, mobile is a channel which can make or break the customer experience.
  • A more opinionated consumer – with readily available information from a variety of sources, consumers have more power than they’ve ever had before. Managing that information and monitoring communication is a key part of customer experience.


It’s certainly a challenging time for brands and marketers but partnering with a consultancy which can truly enhance your customer experience could be very advantageous.