Home Blog Thought leadership Winning research agency strategies: Process automation and efficiency

Winning research agency strategies: Process automation and efficiency

Market research is a mature industry with robust methods and effective quality controls. In recent years, however, agencies have encountered a version of the innovator’s dilemma [1] – in which established suppliers are subject to competitive pressures by new entrants.

The explosive growth in research technology has been the catalyst for many of these new pressures. Nearly 1,200 software companies supply the research industry [2]; automation tools and DIY solutions promise lower costs, faster results and ease of use for client teams.

All this has compressed timescales, reduced project prices and squeezed agency margins. The cost of a typical online attitudes & usage survey, for example, fell by two-thirds between 2010 and 2018 from $27,000 to $9,000 [3].

The need for speed is also a major pressure. 2021’s GreenBook industry trends report surveyed both buyers and suppliers of research, and ‘faster time to insights’ was a top priority for both groups [4].

And in recent years, many ‘buyers’ of research have become ‘doers’ as they bring previously outsourced activities in-house. Easy-to-use platforms for surveys, customer panels and structured concept or ad testing have been widely adopted by insights, experience and even marketing teams.

Taken together, these trends imply less agency-led research to go round; and greater time and cost pressure on the work that remains.

So what can agencies do?

Many are responding by fighting fire with fire: using technology to automate, standardize and find operating efficiencies.

They see clear commercial returns from these investments including:

  • Reduced time spent on low value activities (eg rework, manual data entry, etc.)
  • Redirecting resources to more profitable work (eg analysis, insights, etc.)
  • Increased operating margins and business valuations

The most automated processes are survey analysis, text analytics, charting / infographics and integration of other data sources such as social media [5].

The power of automation

We also see agencies applying automation across the full spectrum of quantitative and qualitative research. Examples include:

  • Project inputs: reusable project templates, survey tools integrated with panels, translation databases, question libraries and client portals.
  • Project management: participant scheduling and incentives, live fieldwork monitoring, online focus groups, live streaming of offline groups, live client access to progress reporting.
  • Project outputs: automatic transcription, translation and tagging, verbatim coding, auto-generated commentary, PowerPoint automation, dashboards, self-service analysis for clients and direct integration of data into their environments.

More winning strategies for Market Research Agencies

Read more about Forsta’s take on the coming golden age for research agencies, and the key strategies being implemented in our full white paper.

Related stories

Customer experience

Unleash the power of the spoken word

Unleash the power of the spoken word Our modern lives are encoded in data. We spend hours on our phones, in virtual meetings, on social media and much more. This unprecedented creation and demand for human-centered data is driving a shift in Experience and Research industries. A shift from passive feedback to active conversations. A […]

Read more
Unleash the power of the spoken word
Customer experience

Sharing our 2022 predictions for CX professionals

Sharing our 2022 predictions for CX professionals Forsta hosted a webinar with guest speaker Judy Weader, Senior Analyst at Forrester, and our very own Chris Brown, VP of CX Consulting, covering top predictions for 2022. We’ve outlined these predictions below, but the full webinar is also available on-demand including more detailed examples of how CX leaders are […]

Read more
Sharing our 2022 predictions for CX professionals
Customer experience

Size up your Customer Experience

Size up your Customer Experience Ever wondered how you measure up against your competitors? Or against the very best organizations in any industry? Where would you even start? Fret no more – we’ve got you covered.   We’re proud to introduce you to HX Benchmarks, a tailored benchmarking service developed jointly by Forsta and one of […]

Read more
Size up your Customer Experience

Learn more about our industry leading platform


Get industry insights that matter,
delivered direct to your inbox

We collect this information to send you free content, offers, and product updates. Visit our recently updated privacy policy for details on how we protect and manage your submitted data.