The insights industry is evolving. How information is gathered and analyzed changes on a regular basis, from basic person-to-person interviews to online studies, group panels and survey rewards. Today’s market research firms are very different than in years past, and if they want to remain at the forefront of their industry, then they’ll have to continue to evolve and adapt. One of the best ways to do that is to look at the problems currently facing market researchers.

Today, there are three key ones:

1. Automation
For starters, the first problem is automation. How data is collected is naturally a key part of market research, and now, new methods have a chance to drastically alter the industry – or render market researchers obsolete. For example, companies themselves can generate the “five Ws” of information – the who, what, where, when and why – thanks to the Internet and smartphones. Brands are increasingly talking to consumers on their own, and that home-grown research has undermined some of what dedicated market researchers can offer. Competition has never been greater, but this doesn’t mean that the insights industry will be left behind.  Surveys remain an effective way to gather information.

2. Engagement
Market researchers have historically had a difficult time engaging with consumers. The nature of the business emphasizes anonymity and privacy, which, by definition, is impersonal. On the other hand, brands are now dealing with consumers on a personal level. They use social media, websites, sales representatives and other methods to talk to their shoppers and learn information traditionally delivered by market researchers. Furthermore, the exciting and interesting brand engagement has highlighted the boring side of surveys. The insights industry will have to reinvent itself. That can be achieved through survey rewards, new technology, creative surveys and more value overall.

3. Expectations
Consumers – and the companies that need market research – want more. Consumers want to be entertained and engaged. Companies want more immersive, detailed data – plus, they want it faster. The insights industry today could see other research methods take over that answer to these demands. That is, of course, unless market researchers adapt their own methods to be more in line with these expectations. The problems facing market researchers are far from an indefinite moratorium on the industry. Quite the contract, actually. Researchers have the ability to grow and evolve their businesses to address consumer and client needs while delivering the most actionable data possible on human behavior.