Top-10 Most Innovative Research Firms

February 16, 2011
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Next Gen Positioning – Many newer smaller firms including Anderson Analytics, Brain Juicer, Peanut Labs and Vision Critical are competing with big boys for hearts and minds of research professionals

Next Gen Positioning – Many newer smaller firms including Anderson Analytics, Brain Juicer, Peanut Labs and Vision Critical are competing with big boys for hearts and minds of research professionals

Lenny Murphy posted an interesting sneak peak analysis of one question in the Greenbook Industry Trends study earlier today.

Full disclosure, Anderson Analytics was one about a dozen research entities that participated in the GRIT study this year (not in study design or hosting, just in terms of encouraging response among clients and Next Gen Market Researchers). One survey question, “What Research firms, if any, do you think are most innovative?” concerned me a bit. However IP address was controlled for so gaming of responses would be difficult. Naturally there may also be some bias because of various sample sources included, however I think the insights from these results are still rather interesting.

I was both somewhat surprised and delighted to see Anderson Analytics mentioned by so many. While, several NGMR members took part in the study, they represent a very broad mix of client and supplier side researchers from various companies and countries. What surprised me more until I thought about it was that researchers who see Anderson Analytics as innovative are very similar (value the same things) as those who view Nielsen or TNS as innovative!

As many of you know, I’ve pushed the idea of ‘Next Gen Market Research’ very hard, even founding an award for “Disruptive Innovation” given out at The Market Research Event last year. Meanwhile, from the business side, Anderson Analytics has also been very cutting edge in terms of being the first firm to leverage text analytics in ad-hoc market research, utilizing facebook widgets for research, and also screen scraping various forums including one large project together with Linkedin. Last but definitely not least we’ve also been working hard to develop our text analytics software (OdinText). So I was a bit concerned that I the firm is viewed as innovative by pretty much the same researchers who would view my former employer TNS as innovative!

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and so I’m choosing to see these similarities as a positive. While I’ve pushed hard for inclusion of data and text mining for use in both market and social media analytics, I’ve always felt that as much as possible, new techniques should be based in sound methodology. I’ve also said several times that conducting a proper segmentation will tell you far more about your customers and their use of social media than any research project you can dream up on Twitter. Finally I strongly believe classical training and understanding of proper research methodology is of utmost importance for any successful Next Gen Market Researcher.

That said, viewing the chart above I’m guessing that positioning wise most research firms are targeting and moving towards the same upper left quadrant. In such case we are competing for the same, limited group of research professionals who value a fair amount of new innovative techniques, but also look for these to be founded on classical research knowledge.

What I’m wondering about are those firms who may be moving toward the upper right hand quadrant. What kind of customers are here?

Brain Juicer which was seen as innovative by far more researchers than any other firm may be taking this other direction. At the recent MRIA event in Toronto Brain Juicer’s Will Goodhand spoke about their “Digividuals”. Basically as far as I understood the consept, an apriori segmentation which then profiles these segments using ‘robots’ who tweet like these a-priori segments. As a quant researcher who usually prefers my segments to be data driven, and my data sources to be as ‘real’ and quantifiable as possible, I had a very hard time wrapping my head around this new methodology.

However, it may end up working very well for them? Certainly there should be more blue ocean towards the upper right corner compared to the upper left were both large whales and many small killer sharks will soon turn the ocean a very dark red.

@TomHCAnderson

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