I’ve been reading various posts about market research and social media, which tend to focus on the usual self-hating stuff about the market research industry’s vulnerability. I agree, pretty much: some of the space that research took up is now being eaten away by other specialisms (data mining, search engine optimisation, and web analytics), while the rest of what’s rightfully ours is taken by DIY tools such as SurveyMonkey. (Can QualMonkey be far behind?)
Personally, I would argue that MR agencies have neglected to develop certain 21st-century skills in-house. Market researchers tend to focus on data collection and analysis technology like Confirmit or SPSS (if you’re lucky).
Things market researchers don’t bother with: design. Graphic design, web design, information design, whatever. Design is right down at the bottom of the pile. You buy it in, or you manage without it.
Researchers writing presentations huff over the latest critique of death-by-Powerpoint and insert a couple more company-approved clipart images into the 80-page deck. Somewhere, a designer is weeping.
So. If it were up to me, I would not only run shedloads of training on statistics and experimental design, but I’d include these:
- Essentials of graphic design
- Digital photography
- Using stock image libraries
- Web design and an introduction to CSS
And if I were running a big research agency, I’d invest in some graphic designers and programmers to create some nifty and beautiful interfaces for running surveys and online communities.
Why shouldn’t people expect loveliness in a survey?
What skills would you like to see?