How to bring in market research innovation during times of uncertainty

9 February 2023 | 2 min read | Written by Kelvin Claveria

2023 is already the year of ChatGPT, but beyond this buzzy AI tool, what other market research innovations are out there?

To answer this question, I recently invited Bill Trovinger, Customer Insights Director – Pharmacy & Health at Albertsons Companies, to chat with me via our live event series, Outliers.

In our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about the hottest market research trends, how to balance innovation and predictability, and more.

Watch a recording or check out top 3 takeaways further below.


Avoid the “shiny toy” syndrome

Amidst layoffs, budget cuts and uncertainty, insight pros will be under pressure to demonstrate market research ROI. This requires teams to be, in Bill’s words, “ruthlessly efficient” when it comes to their spend in 2023.

To that end, Bill believes unproven methodologies and shiny objects will be a hard sell—at least this year.

“2023 is ultimately going to be defined by the leaders who can do more with less,” Bill said.

Ask the right questions

While proven methodologies should take priority, research teams shouldn’t abandon experimentation altogether.

Bill expects that in 5 to 10 years, parts of the insights industry will look very different and “it’s going to be because of those people who continue to push innovation.”

For research leaders considering testing new insight platforms or research techniques in 2023, Bill suggests asking two important questions:

  • Is this the right time to bring something new?
  • What is the team’s appetite for it?

Bill likes to allocate about 10% of his market research budget towards new approaches.

“If we can right-size it, the opportunity is still there to run tests and pilots,” he explains, adding that new market research tools should either help companies connect with customers differently or understand their customers differently.

Use existing data and knowledge to generate insights

Sometimes the customer insights you need are already at your fingertips—if you know where to find them.

“I’m a big believer in using existing data, even if it’s slightly outdated,” Bill confesses. “I don’t think customer behavior changes that quickly without a major forcing function.”

(Of course, the COVID pandemic is an exception given how much it changed things both for consumers and research teams.) 

Before looking externally and investing in new approaches, do an inventory of what you already have. New market research partners should be bringing ways of uncovering insights you don’t have yet—they need to build on what you already know. 

Manage risks and learn something new

To protect the credibility of his team, Bill ensures that any innovation he brings in will deliver at least one or two actionable learnings.

For example, he has built a market research panel of Albertsons customers who’ve opted-in to share their feedback. This insight community allows Bill to get data that can be turned into action that different Albertsons stores can implement right away.

Bill has another research community of pharmacy customers who are pre-profiled based on their health conditions. Again, the goal is to get quick, actionable feedback. 

“Worst case scenario, if the innovation goes sideways, the methodology didn’t work, or we didn’t get the right respondents, we can at least prove we’ve done something,” Bill said about his approach to new approaches. 

Keep track of market research innovations

If you enjoy keeping track of innovations in the insights industry, feel free to subscribe to our blog below 👇 or check out our Outliers series for more conversations with research leaders. 

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Written by Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria (@kcclaveria) is Director of Demand Generation at Rival Technologies.

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