CEO Monthly Reflection | December 2023 | 5 Predictions for 2024

by Terence McCarron

2023 has been a disjointed year for our industry, to put it kindly.  Many of us will be glad to see it go and welcome a clean slate that any new year provides.  Many MRX firms will begin 2024 with leaner operations and a keen focus on executing growth plans to help keep our industry strong.

Each new year also offers winds of change.  Here are some of my predictions of things that just might happen in 2024:

1. The economy will force MRX changes.

In a second consecutive year of economic uncertainty, MRX Leaders will re-evaluate how their teams are constructed, how they work and how to focus more on delivering their core value to clients.

Two questions will highlight each company’s discernment:

  • What is our Unique Selling Proposition?
  • Is our talent’s time being spent fully realizing that USP?

2. Surprise M&A will happen.

Mergers or Acquisitions that alter the landscape will happen in 2024. Negative factors like stagnant growth, company debt positions, and fallen valuations will drive this trend.  Some companies will look to strategic deals to secure their futures.

Look for big companies to get bigger.  As this occurs large sample vendors may be affected as well as a consolidation among Market Research providers as well, reducing the competitive set.

3. An end to guaranteed quality

In online sample, a long-standing norm has been guaranteed quality. Researchers would never be asked to pay for “bad completes”.  I predict in 2024, sample providers will challenge this in subtle and direct ways to recoup revenue losses from poor quality. Vendors will experiment with concepts that align with the programmatic philosophy.

Strategies may include:

  • Limiting Quality Control removals.  This will present as a cap of what percent of the data you are allowed to toss.  This may also be called “Reconciliation Suspension”.
  • Cost Per Completed Interviews charged… on QC removals.  Vendors may try to assess a second, lower CPI on “long terminates”. It won’t matter if the reason for the term is bad data.
  • QC removals counting as “terms” in incidence rate calculations.  This is a more subtle approach as the overall project CPI will increase as incidence drops.  This one could also show up as a complete transition “Conversion Rate” instead of Incidence Rate as the main price driver.

4. AI Hype will fizzle

In Market Research, the hype train will stall, despite AI starting to prove value in niche areas of our sector.

Currently, AI is a topic that dominates most conferences and trend conversations in MRX.  Behind the scenes, implications are being deeply investigated and governments and corporations are identifying a need for regulation and data protection.  In 2024, these heavy considerations will ultimately cause a slowing of the adoption momentum.

While things slow down, investors will reset AI startup valuations and potential buyers will delay jumping in until after Tech providers demonstrate how they accommodate “walled gardens” for company data and the underlying AI models.

5. Accessing real humans for research will command a premium.

The rise in Synthetic Data insights platforms will pose a market share risk from survey tools and end-to-end “Insights platforms.”  The lack of quality assurance in sample connections in today’s Insights platforms will force corporate clients to reassess the value of compromised data and shift away from many fully automated insights platforms that use programmatic sample.

Meanwhile, there will be a value shift tied to data collection.  Ultimately more Consumer Insights teams will find a place for synthetic data, but pay more attention to quality assurance initiatives within their Market Research partners. This will produce a premium to access real, verified consumers’ time as the desired standard versus synthetic users or unverified programmatic sample.

What are you planning for?  We’d love to hear about it and see if we can help you get leaner and achieve higher quality. Click here to hit us up!

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