Poll position: New Market Research Courses
"Judge a person by their questions rather than their answers" - Voltaire
In business and government, making too many assumptions can be fatal. Business leaders and civil servants need hard data on their markets and customers if they do not want to be left stumbling around in the dark. On the daily news you often see names like Ipsos MORI, Gartner and ACNielsen, often at the foot of a pie chart, animation or other representation of data. These are three of the leading companies who do market research, alongside other activities like polls and consulting.
Market research is the systematic gathering of data on market need, market size and rivals in order to keep a business (or government) competitive. It involves qualitative techniques such as in-depth interviews, focus groups and mystery shopping, and quantitative research including customer surveys and Big Data number crunching. It helps C-suite executives to make strategic decisions and government employees to plan for maximum efficiency and make the best use of public spending.
The UK’s Market Research Society (MRS) is a leading research association dedicated to maintaining standards and serving professionals in the market research sector as well as in social and opinion research. Its members have provided research data that has won elections, launched global trends and made products into household names. It aims to regulate the power of market research results by maintaining codes of conduct for the sector and also provides professional development training for its members.
The MRC is offering 18 new courses for 2017, and not all of them are as dry as you might think. One of them, simply titled ‘Happiness’, examines how to create happiness for brands, companies and cultures. Not your typical marketing or research workshop, it is an introduction to the emerging new science of happiness and how it can be applied to brand loyalty, building happier corporate cultures and even happier nations. The latest research in Behavioural Economics and Psychology is brought to bear on the objective of creating more happiness for more people.
The MRS’s other 2017 offerings include more hardcore courses like Using R in Data Analysis – an introduction to the powerful statistics software environment R, which has a pretty steep learning curve but is a great tool for anyone in the data game to know how to use. Another crackly-dry one is Using Co-Design in Focus Groups, covering specialist aspects of research methodology.
Using Statistics to Forecast Trends and Service Demand is for planners and analysts from private and local/central government organisations who need to know what drives footfall and what drives busy times at contact call centres. Using data modelling, attendees will learn to understand the factors that lead to increased or decreased workload volumes.
So there’s a lot more to Market research than wandering around high streets mugging passers-by with clipboards, and the MRS has added some stimulating new courses to its professional development offering for this year.