Monday, July 6, 2015

The Speedy Way to Success.. or is it?

Speeding down the highway, rushing to make that next train, swallowing lunch in one bite before that 12:15 meeting. Our generation has turned life into a sprint, seeking the fastest ways to complete any and every task- whether the hustle is necessary or not.  

This daunting factor pours into our work lives as well. Who would have known a 40 hour work week ever existed had our grandparents not mentioned it once or twice. Workplaces are more demanding, work continues to pile up and so we are now left with an unmet need that needs meeting… and fast.
What is the number one request for improvement of research? SPEED. Faster timelines with similar if not better quality insights. While, yes, we can train more and conjure ideas to improve efficiency, the underlying factor that guides and will continue to guide this trend is technology. Faster inputs, more efficient tools, continued modern design applications, and drawing those complex and insightful trends faster than it has ever been done before.

We’re racing against each other to get to the answer the fastest. But then again, what is “the answer”? Are we really still allowing ourselves to explore enough to truly dig up “the answer” under such strict time restrictions? Here is where your modern day developer comes in to automate different steps of the process. Start with Step 1, maybe work on Step 3, and before you know it, the snowball effect has taken over the process in its entirety, creating a standardized and automated into market research industry.

Automation is what we are headed towards in order to meet such time demands. At that point, all we really need are robots to click the “Go” button once every few hours to complete job.

It began many years back- I can still remember my father telling me “Don’t go to those self check-out lines, they’re trying to replace the jobs of the cashiers.” While more fun to a child, it is now evident how they truly are replacing jobs others. At a presentation from last year’s TMRE we learned about Lowe’s introducing robots to help customers navigate the store as soon as they enter. We also heard about a company introducing automated medical stands where customers can enter, speak to an automated “doctor” and follow the step by step instructions to “take your temperature”, “take your blood pressure”, etc. and finally be diagnosed with basic ailments.

Don’t get me wrong- technological advancements are the way of our generation and have allowed us to do far more than we have ever done before. But when does this surpass our needs and begins to take over our lives and lead us on a spiral downhill? Only time will tell…  

Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at

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