person Guy Potter access_time February 26, 2018
Does Martech Spell The End of ‘Traditional’ Research

The UK data market is the biggest in Europe, and the second largest globally, with market value hitting £1.1billion this year. We can’t move for data and it appears that, as a nation, we are obsessed with it.

Data is transforming business, with access to realtime information helping business growth and shaping strategies. One discipline that is growing particularly data-dependent is the marketing sector, which has been helped in no short measure by marketing technology, or martech.

To put in basic terms, martech is made up of tools, solutions or platforms that harness technology to achieve marketing goals, manage measurement and hit key objectives.

Martech needs and uses data, and lots of it; so, does that mean the end of market research as we know it? What about Instant Surveys, does martech sound the death knell of this form of research as well? Here’s what we think.

The martech revolution

The martech space is huge and not showing any signs of slowing down. Over the course of 2017, the market grew by 40% and there are now nearly 6,000 different solutions available. This certainly proves there is a demand for this technology.

The reason for this is in no small part due to digital disruption, but also down to accountability. The marketing department is under increasing pressure to justify spend, and to quantify and qualify projects, especially when it comes to ad spend.

Marketing spend is not significantly increasing, and neither is main media ad spend. 2017 marked the weakest budget increase in two years, and traditional ad spend is only set to increase by 0.3% this year. Digital advertising has also seen a slow-down, and the last quarter of 2017 has seen the slowest curve since 2016.

There are so many factors that have led to this point in time, such as Brexit; not to mention trust issues with the digital tech giants, that have stemmed from scandals, such as Youtube’s safety controls and concerns surrounding the digital media supply chain.

2017 was certainly an eventful year! So, it’s no surprise we’re seeing a huge growth in martech, which enables marketers to track, measure and analyse customer or client behaviours to ensure their budgets are working harder and bringing business benefit.

Improving business agility

In using Martech, marketers can create seamless reporting structures, whilst also having 24/7 access to realtime data. This is ideal for when the board requests a marketing update, as reports can be produced in a matter of hours, as opposed to weeks, therefore dramatically improving accountability.

All the data you need is at your fingertips with martech; consumer habits, trend analysis, social media analysis and sales or usage data, which can then feed into CRM platforms or sales tools. You could say it’s a data utopia

Sounds great, but does this data give you the reasons for why your data is behaving the way it is? It doesn’t. In fact, the more data you have, there tends to be more questions than answers.

And here’s the rub; traditional research gives you the answers to your data-related questions, which is why insights are now more important than ever and not going anywhere in a hurry.

Nothing beats insights

Without insights, all this amazing data is more or less worthless, and this is why traditional research still has a very important part to play. Whether it’s a tracking study or an instant survey, you will need to investigate and understand data behaviour.

Data can only show you what’s happening, but insights can tell you why, and this can be an invaluable tool for justifying spend, or helping to gauge feedback when going through the testing stage of a campaign.

To quote Velocity MD, Doug Kessler; ‘a sharp, intelligent and successful campaign only needs one nugget of insight to make it work.’

Insights can help your marketing budget work better as your business can roll-out a campaign on a firmer base having garnered feedback. And, with concerns surrounding the ethical behaviours of the major tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, research can help your business gain deeper insights around consumer or client view on social trust.

Agile research that works with martech

If your business is embracing all things martech and agility, then it’s crucial your research partner is also using the latest technology.

If you’re looking for realtime response to your realtime data, then a weekly omnibus just won’t cut it. Agile research will, however, as you can get answers to your questions in minutes. We believe this dovetails well with martech.

The research industry does need to ‘get with the programme’ when it comes to technology, as martech isn’t a phase or fad, it’s very much here to stay. Which is why we need to adapt and embrace these changes and look to the future in a more positive light.


Guy Potter is maru / usurv's head of research and clients.