It is fitting at this time of year for us pause and take stock of changes in the industry and how we can build on the things we believe in to shape the future for our company and the clients PRS IN VIVO serves. As we approach 2020, we are more convinced than ever that we will see renewed commitment to an industry-wide transition from provision of research outputs, to creation of business growth outcomes.
With this as a guiding principle, we are predicting four themes will become evident along this transformational journey for the research industry, and for our company specifically: behavioral, holistic, on-time and sustainable.
- First, we believe behavioral methods will be recognized as the only way to accurately predict how consumers make choices. We’ve been pioneers developing a validated behavioral framework for shopper and product research at PRS IN VIVO. In 2020, we’ll be working with our clients to leverage new technologies providing business intelligence purely on the basis of behavioral data-sets. We predict that clients will embrace purely behavioral data-sets as the only viable benchmarks for key decision making across the life-cycle of products and their shopper marketing strategies.
- Second, under a validated behavioral framework for human understanding, insights functions and partners will be expected to transcend delivery of project-based research outputs, and instead build business outcomes sourced from across holistic and interconnected data-sets. These will be the essential sources of consultative recommendations that brands will come to expect as key to understanding, predicting and improving shopper and product experiences. For example, as the path-to-purchase for most brands and products is now both digital and physical, improving these experiences will rely on behavioral data from many sources to understand both channels, interdependently, and act to drive behavior and consumer choice in a holistic way.
- Third, clients will expect the insights and intelligence that drives their growth outcomes to be delivered at the speed of business decision-making. The standard will become minutes in the media sector, hours in the product and innovation development process, days in the store experience domain. We will need to dedicate ingenuity, and iterative innovation to evolve methods ahead of the curve, that deliver actionable behavioral insights faster. The industry “NorthStar” must become delivering this evidence based consultancy at the pace of business. Agency partners who are not committed to this “on-time mentality” will lose their relevancy.
- Finally, the definition of a positive business outcome will continue to expand beyond the purely financial to incorporate a new brand imperative: placement of authentic sustainability goals at the core of business decision making. Sustainability will become central to every decision a brand makes, from the products brought to market, how they are manufactured, packaged, shipped, how they are used by consumers to minimize waste, and how they are finally disposed of. It will be imperative for brands to capture the hearts and minds of consumers who say they want sustainable purchase options, but are genuinely confused about the which products to choose, or habituated to old choices, that don’t contribute to a sustainable future for the planet. We see these as the “elusive green consumers”, and much of our work in 2020 and beyond will be focused on helping brands turn altruistic sustainable aspirations into sound shopper marketing tactics that influence consumer choice, drive sustainable growth and make the world a better place.
We see these themes as more than mere prognostications ... they are the foundation of commitments we are making to our clients for 2020 and beyond. So check with us in the coming months to see how we will be leveraging our core beliefs and deep shopper and product expertise in order to deliver products and services that make a difference to our clients’ growth, and the industry as a whole.
Alex Hunt is the CEO of PRS IN VIVO, a BVA Group company, which provides behaviorally driven consultancy in shopper and product experience. A shorter version of this post was shared on the Greenbook blog which you can read here.