Recently, Euromonitor published a report entitled 4 Global Trends Disrupting Market Research by Zandi Brehmer and Lisa Holmes. They state the research industry is “at an exciting moment of evolution with disruption occurring in both research execution and delivery.” These four global trends are impacting the role of the market researcher:
- Automation and DIY Tools – A new need for unprecedented speed
- Big Data and Predictive Analytics – Making humans more important than ever
- Transparency and Trust – Baring it all
- Partnership 3.0 – Market researchers will need to redefine how they partner
These are spot on and here are two examples of procurement-related research offerings that nicely illustrate all four trends.
Farmers Business Network
Written up in TechCrunch, Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune and other publications, Farmers Business Network (FBN) is a network that allows farmers to share their field knowledge data, and in return receive intelligence and analysis that enables them to make better decisions for their own field strategies, including selecting the best products in the most efficient way and with the best pricing.
According to cofounder Charles Baron, (in Forbes) “longtime relationships and free trips to Disney [and] a heavily consolidated market of suppliers that thrives on a lack of information” was “how sales have operated for decades in U.S. agriculture” and is the reason FBN’s “data-driven, pro-transparency approach” has become successful.
Analytics from pooled data from farms in the network provide insights on benchmarking, mapping, and analyzing yields and selecting the best seeds for specific soils. FBN Price Transparency shows market averages, quotes, and invoiced prices on hundreds of inputs. FBN Direct connects farmers in the network with manufacturers from thousands of products and services.
Streetbees allows a company to connect with people on the ground to gather real-time insights using AI and geolocation technology. It was started in 2015 by Tugce Bulut, and is out of London. Vastly different than the traditional market research model, worldwide consumers, known as “bees” share and record moments from their lives (such as eating breakfast or ordering a meal at a restaurant) via text, image or video. Streetbees’ natural language processing technology takes this data and provides insights to companies quickly and more economically than the usual market research report.
The process starts with a company communicating to Streetbees what they need to know anywhere in the world. A study is designed, then translated and localized within hours. Questions are directed to the right people using geolocation technology. The bees community instantly shares insights captured in the moment with the images and the data needed. Every single participant image and data point is cross-verified by human analysts for quality assurance. Insights are extracted from quantitative data and in-depth analysis of images (website).
According to VentureBeat, Streetbees’ plan for growth “will hold particular value for brands wishing to carry out market research in developing markets where it may be more difficult to reach through traditional means…Companies fail to invest in the developing world time and again because they don’t understand the market, as they either can’t find the information they need or they don’t trust what they have.”
This concept of “on the ground” or “in the trenches” intelligence is ideal for retail and consumer research. The possibilities for procurement research are exciting as well. For example, Streetbees could be used to poll or monitor those directly who are witnessing or experiencing geopolitical, environmental, ethical/human rights risk events or activities that affect supply chains and suppliers. In a recent real life scenario, Deloitte partnered with Streetbees and used their platform to target cross border business travelers (category intelligence) for Deloitte’s survey that covered experiences such as obtaining visas or passing through immigration borders.