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What effect will the coronavirus have on market research?


Nikki Sunga interviews MRDC Software founder, Phil Hearn, to find out his views


You can hear the full 50-minute interview here…..


"I think that there's a need actually to be very active at the moment and really think about where we're going and what can be done"


While Phil was cautious about how far-reaching the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will have on market research and business in general, he strongly feels that it is not a time to 'freeze'. He admits when the lockdown first happened in the UK, he unconsciously froze for four or five days, but it soon became clear to him that it was a time to explore opportunities and things that can make a difference in the future.




"There's a tendency at the moment for some companies to freeze"


He admits that a podcast by Janet Murray (www.janetmurray.co.uk) inspired him. Rather than overly thinking about an unpredictable future, it was time to do something positive. Janet also made it clear that for industries to survive, it was important that selling and marketing carried on as long as sensitivity was in place. Freezing is the worst thing to do.




"I see this as an opportunity to get ideas out there and to discuss them with clients and potential clients"


Phil said that many companies have gone into lockdown, but they should see it as an opportunity to exchange ideas and explore new ideas. Whatever happens, the pandemic is going to have a significantly negative effect on business worldwide. He thought that companies should be looking to improve what they do and make contact with any company or individual that can make their business stronger when things get back to normal.




"I think in the real world delivering good enough is going to be what people are going to accept for quite a while now, and that may reflect in all aspects of life."


One of the themes that Phil explored was that there might be an attitude shift in both the B2C and B2B world. Although he expressed some cynicism about the marketing mantra that everyone has to 'exceed expectations', he thought we might have to move into an era of 'good enough'. It might be a tough admission for some companies to have to make, but if consumers and businesses can only afford 'good enough', attitudes may change.




"We (MRDC) are not freezing by any stretch of the imagination. We're looking to run a series of webinars now which will be quite short…just try to get ideas out there that open up discussion so that we can, albeit in a small way, contribute to strengthening the industry when it comes out the other side."


MRDC Software's approach to this period is to try new things. As a software company, that means developing new ideas, exploring things that will make a difference – taking some risks. MRDC has always put a focus on productivity and cost-effectiveness, something that, we believe, is often overlooked, by those buying software. Productivity and cost-effectiveness are likely to come into sharper focus when the wheels of business start turning again.




"…delivering data online and reporting online….I think this is going to, perhaps, be yet another little push towards that (goal)"


On a positive note, Phil hoped that the market research would re-surface by pushing technology to get ahead. He stated that online dashboards and the growth of online communities were two areas where market research had an opportunity to make progress. MRDC Software's focus is on these two areas.




"…one of the reasons for our short webinars...each week is to open up discussions and to encourage people to challenge us to be better and to do better things."


Remaining positive, Phil called on the industry to challenge ideas, look for opportunities, including challenging MRDC to do things better.




To wrap up


The interview left me in no doubt that there are a lot of problems ahead for almost every business. However, it left me thinking that if every person and every business made an effort to improve in some way, we might all come out of this scary time with less damage than we may fear.


You can hear the full 50-minute interview here…..


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Choosing the right software in market research: a software buyer’s guide (Part 2)

Emily Rose-Talbot
Author: Emily Rose-Talbot - Date posted: 7 April 2020
Category: MR-business - Tags: market research, coronavirus, podcast

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