The latest news from the meaning blog


What I’d like in my Christmas stocking

I’m hoping that Santa is going to stuff my stocking with a case of champagne and one of those glittery, sequined dresses that are all over the shops this year.

Apart from that, I’m wondering if he has the power to make the following magically appear in my office over Christmas:

1000 names and email addresses

I’d like 1000 names and email addresses of senior market researchers from around the world.  At meaning we conduct an annual online survey about market research technology and every year it becomes a little bit harder to achieve our goal of 230 completes, which should not come as a complete surprise since as the survey has pointed out in both of the last two years that ‘falling response rates’ is the top challenge the industry faces.  This means that one of my personal top challenges is building en ever longer list of people to invite to take part in the survey.

In my gift-wrapped Christmas box of sample, I’d particularly like some from France because, even though we translate the questionnaire into French, for some reason, our response rate in France is far lower than everywhere else. In 2008, 7% of our French sample completed the questionnaire, whereas in other countries this figures was typically between 10 and 20%. And I’d also like to ask Santa for Japanese sample because we quite simply never get enough of it!

And why bother Santa with this awesome task, when we have panel  providers, I hear you cry. Aren’t they ideal for wheedling out those hard-to-find groups? Yes, but this is just too specific even for them.  The thing is, our survey is about trends and issues in the use of market research software, so while we are happy for the IT boss, the Research Director or even the CEO to complete the questionnaire, it is no use if the HR, Finance or Marketing Manager participates (since they have nothing or very little to do with MR technology issues). We have had some success with panel providers in the past, and believe me, they have certainly tried hard, but the number of completes they brought in, while extremely valuable, never quite matched their effort.

A new piece of tabulation and charting software that hasn’t yet been written

Talking of our annual technology survey, I don’t know if elves are good at programming, but I would really like a new piece of market research software that produces a few cross tabs and publication-ready charts without having to endure a week of blood, sweat and tears to create them.

Once we have finished the fieldwork, Tim Macer and I have an annual battle with Microsoft Excel, which we do always win, largely thanks to Tim’s superior level of skill with the aforementioned package.  We have tried some market research specific packages, but have always fallen back on Excel because that’s what we have to provide the charts in to the various publishers… To be honest, Excel is not setting the bar very high, so maybe Santa’s little helpers can come up trumps.

So, champagne, a sparkly dress, 1000 names and email addresses and some brand new software. I think that is a modest wish list.

New sponsor for Annual MR software survey

Businesswoman working on laptop

Globalpark is the new sponsor for the market research industry’s annual international survey into market research software. meaning will continue to design and conduct the survey, as it has done every year since its inception in 2004. Globalpark is a major MR software provider whose product portfolio includes panel, community and survey software and has offices in USA, UK, German and Austria. The sponsorship provides not only an important level of financial support that allows meaning to do this work, but allows meaning to work in partnership with another organization that can contribute know-how and even technical support to the activity.

As Tim Macer of meaning points out: “Having a new sponsor really underscores the impartiality of this survey, and will build on the excellent legacy of the outgoing sponsor”

From 2004 until 2008, the survey, which gives an independent insight into the state of the technology in the global market research industry, was sponsored by Confirmit. It has unearthed some fascinating results,  such as in 2008 when it revealed that two-fifths of companies were  considering changing their software over the next two years, and many seemed to want to make a clean sweep by bringing new software into virtually every area.

The results of this study are made freely available every year and it has become established as a key source of reference for industry analysts, in publications, in the media and at conferences. Now, the survey will be known by the new name of The Globalpark Annual Market Research Software Survey. The 2009 will build on the existing set of tracker questions, supplemented with a selection of new questions that will focus on topics of current interest. Results from the survey will be released early in 2010.

Read the results: Fifth Confirmit Annual MR Software Survey

What is the state of technology in the global market research industy? For an in-depth answer to this question, you can now read our report from the 2008 Confirmit Annual MR Software Survey.

Shown here are two trend charts with data from several editions of the survey – left: plans to change software, and right: trends in mixed mode research requirments

The study shows that the MR industry is suffering efficiency problems with the technology it is using today. Not surprisingly, perhaps, two fifths of respondents say they are planning to change their software over the next two years, and many seem to want to make a clean sweep by bringing new software into virtually every area.

With five years of data, we can now see some consistency in the trends that are emerging, such as in reporting methods and in research modes and the use of mixed methodologies. The results give real food for thought for software developersand the market research industry alike.

We are most grateful for Confirmit’s continued support in sponsoring this research and also for allowing us to publish these results – which are of enormous value to the industry as a whole.

Meaning conducted the survey and wrote the report. We would like to thank the 215 respondents from market research companies from around the world who willingly shared their insights with us.

External link to report on Confirmit website