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The new era for research agencies

Organizations need human insights more than ever

The market for data, analytics and insights is growing strongly, diversifying rapidly and reaching new customers.

Growth is robust. In 2022, the global insights industry expanded by 12% to reach almost $130bn in turnover.

Sources are changing. Market research data is being combined with signals from digital analytics, social listening and experience feedback. Suppliers are multiplying. Management consultants, software companies and data providers are used alongside full-service research agencies.

And the users of all this information are proliferating. Designers, consultants, data analysts, product managers, brand marketers and dozens of other roles need insights into their audiences so they can create new products, design better ads and improve the customer experience.

The growth in demand presents opportunities and challenges

As companies embrace the principles of Customer Centricity, Human-Centered Design and Experience Management, more value gets attached to human insights. More teams rely on this data for their day-to-day decision-making. New technologies make research and insights data easier to collect, integrate and analyze.

But this growth in demand and usage also brings challenges. Different departments use different systems and artificial boundaries emerge that separate Consumer Insights, Customer Experience and Market Research teams.

As access to insights is democratized, skills gaps become more apparent. Poorly designed research, biased hypotheses and mistakes in analysis can be very costly. And technology—such as ‘DIY’ research tools—are only ever a partial solution.

Most organizations need a combination of software and expert help. Research agencies are uniquely positioned to help companies address these challenges.

This is a new era for research agencies

Some industry analysts believe that research agencies are in decline; that self-service technology and behavioral data will replace what they deliver; and that this trend is both inevitable and irreversible.

At Forsta, we know this is an entirely false narrative. Research agencies have the critical skills, experience and methods to help organizations maximize the value of human insights. Many are using technology, data and creativity to innovate like never before.

We see agencies combining new data sources such as sales, ad spend and social media with surveys and qualitative feedback to provide context to the results; working with teams far beyond the customer insights or market research departments; and building hybrid offers that combine professional services with software products.

But to make the most of these opportunities, agencies need to grow beyond the traditional heartlands of market research.

It’s time to embrace Human Experience insights

Our most successful agency partners create value by connecting the worlds of Market Research with User, Customer and Employee Experience. We call this Human Experience (HX) insights. HX is a holistic approach to understanding audiences. It combines quantitative with qualitative methods. It uses behavioral, conversational and emotional inputs. And it uncovers insights from both broad patterns and personal pictures.

In this paper, we will share:

  • The four main strategies these agencies are adopting to maximize the HX opportunity
  • The massive opportunities that AI innovation offers for research agencies
  • The specific initiatives that will unlock future growth
  • The role we believe Forsta can play in supporting your success.

Welcome to the new era for research agencies.
Welcome to HX.


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