Consumer Insights and Analytics Trends of 2015 Will Shape Your 2016 Talent Needs

As the new year begins, the market research industry will be challenged to push the envelope to continue delivering value and having a measurable business impact. “Big data” may be a debated term, but the concept it represents is a reality. Business leaders are emphasizing skill sets that translate data from many sources into cogent consumer insights and business strategies. Perspectives from leading industry commentators and our experience bear this out.

Order Out of Chaos

Sharp strategic skills are imperative. The GreenBook Research Industry Trend report (GRIT) identified “marketing/business strategy” in the top five “most in-demand skills.” GRIT further called out the “trend toward the development of more analytical skills, as well as technical resources, as being among the top changes taking place in the market research industry.”

While this may sound tactical in nature, this quote from a GRIT survey respondent captures what we are seeing from our clients well:
“Growth of information inherently requires a more important role for researchers, just not the same role as before. We have to become the analysts, the interpreters, the storytellers and the marketers of insights.”

Context is Key

Quirk’s 2015 Corporate Research Report revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents said they are asked to incorporate data from non-marketing research sources into their projects – this is the case “most of the time” or “always” for one-third of them.

One respondent was particularly insightful, suggesting that:
“Big data can tell us WHAT but it can rarely tell us WHY….That’s where marketing research wins: It adds the context. And in a day and age of abundant data, context has never been more important than it is now. Perhaps MR practitioners need to rename themselves: context providers.”

Another responded added:
“Sometimes decision makers think that big data tells them everything they need to know. They eventually regret it and ask for our help.”

At The Market Research Event (TMRE 2015), we also observed the “neo-generalist” or “context provider” as an emerging role. Demand is growing for professionals with the ability to access multiple and myriad data sources and then deliver consumer insights in faster, smarter and more actionable ways.

Organizations Evolve

Insights organizations are being redeveloped to adapt to new demands. We are observing a trend toward a more consultative approach that can adapt in a rapidly changing environment. Some of the key drivers are:
• Speed of delivery
• Technology and data science
• Behavioral science
• Actionable insights
• Visualization and better reporting

We’re seeing these trends in our practice, with hiring managers seeking to identify and attract the right talent to fill a range of new consumer insights and analytics jobs across industries. While there is strong demand for CPG talent, many CPG companies are looking outside the industry for better developed analytics, digital and “big data” skills.

As you move your talent management strategy into 2016, consider partnering with O’Connell Group. We can help you stay ahead of the curve, and incorporate current trends in talent supply and demand into your recruiting plans for the future. Contact us today to learn more.