As Brian and I were preparing for our first podcast of the year, we thought we would reflect on 2020 and try to summarize some key themes of the year. We joked that this will likely be the only time we think back on 2020 as it was such a challenging year. But a lot of positives happened in the marketing research and insights industry. We summarized some thoughts below.
While 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, both professionally and personally, the insights community really stepped up in a couple of big ways.
First with collaboration and content. Many companies and organizations stepped up to provide insights and data during the Spring and Summer, when the outlook for the industry, economy, and future was at its lowest. The Insights Association held weekly meetings to discuss what was happening from both supply and client sides to many private companies doing research to understand the shift in attitudes and behaviors. In turn, we saw the industry quickly shift and collaborate to share this information. ESOMAR compiled as much information as possible in a central location for easy access. Private companies conducted research and shared it free of charge as we were all trying to learn about the shift in attitudes and behaviors.
Second, how everyone was helping each other, even if they were competitors. The effects of the pandemic hit segments of our industry pretty hard. We saw reduced work, furloughs and even some companies unfortunately having to reduce their workforce in the Spring/Summer. The industry stepped up though, helping those impacted find jobs, networking, removing non-competes, and even creating hashtags on Linkedin to help job-seekers find open positions. A strong effort was made to help everyone find a place, putting competition aside for the best interests of the industry.
Data quality has been a prominent topic in market research for quite a while. However, in 2020 we saw multiple new entrants emerge, giving researchers numerous options to improve their quality from a digital fingerprint and fraud perspective. These new products and competition should exponentially drive improvement in quality over the next few years.
We joked around on the podcast throughout this year about how many companies were changing their names. However, this was clearly a massive repositioning of research companies in the industry shifting to a broader consultancy to help brands. Gone are the days of survey data isolated as a brand makes its decisions. Data across many platforms, both traditional and non-traditional, quantitative and qualitative, active and passive, from first, second, and third parties are now being used in totality to assist brands. This repositioning will only lift the industry up and grow it as we start harnessing this data and many learn to adopt new skills.
With 2021, we hope that the new year brings and end to the tumultuousness in the industry and our overall lives, but we hope that the good we saw in 2020 continues.