In this week’s Insights Interview, we sat down with Marina Kosten, Vice President, Consumer Research, International Theatrical Distribution at 20th Century Fox, to discuss the biggest trends shaping market research, how researchers can thrive in the “Trump Era”, and how Gen Z is impacting the industry.
How has market research been disrupted?
Kosten: It’s not enough to say that our function is in for a change, otherwise we’d be easily able to adapt to the stability around us. We, as a discipline, must understand the ever-shifting consumer habits; the ever-voluminous data which is generated, collected and lauded on every street corner; and, most importantly, the need to have a fluid approach to what has worked yesterday and may not work tomorrow. We can’t remain static in the age of exponential fluidity, and incremental steps aren’t enough.
How has digital impacted market research?
Kosten: Every area of today’s consumers’ lives – almost regardless of cohort – is fundamentally digital. I’m hard-pressed to name an industry which remains analog, especially if it’s consumer-facing. Digital isn’t impacting us, as we have fully lived in a digital world for almost a decade now. If we don’t have ‘digital’ natively spun into our function’s DNA – and that means not just using the word, but fully understanding relationship between historical and emerging data, tools and benchmarks – we will cease to fit into successful business paradigms.
How can market researchers thrive in the “Trump Era”?
Kosten: How are consumers shaping the future of market research? Consumers are entirely in control of what they consume, where and how. We must natively understand their journeys as they involve our products and be nimble enough to join their paths proactively. If we wait for the new behaviors to ‘solidify,’ we are too late to learn from them.
Where do you see market research moving in the next 5 years?
Kosten: Hopefully to a far more future-facing role, where the role of the researcher is that of an anthropologist, a data scientist and a user-experience all at once.
How has technology helped or hindered market research?
Kosten: It depends on which side of the evolutionary divide your business sits on. For me, technology has opened many doors to re-imagine the way we engage with our consumers, and that also means the way we approach studying their behavior. It’s not just about the rapid increase in the pace of data collection, or the automated dashboards. It’s about forcing us to entirely shift what we do and how, and those who embraced that should very enthusiastically say that it’s helped enormously.
How is Gen Z impacting market research?
Kosten: Everyone with a mobile device is a brand ambassador; everyone with an opinion finds their desired social audiences to broadcast them to; every business should know this intuitively and operate accordingly. With the age compression accelerating daily with more tech innovation, we must evolve to allow all voices to be heard, and to understand who originates certain decisions and where they take place.