Image for post
Image for post

5 Disruptive Insights and Market Research Startups to Watch

It’s extremely exciting to be amidst an industry which is being disrupted by brands challenging the ‘status-quo’ of research tools and techniques. It has become notably evident that technological advancements and innovative research solutions have transformed the delivery of research insights when informing business decisions.

As Ipsos point out, the market research industry is currently experiencing significant pressure from the adoption of new technology and changes in the social behaviour of consumers. Therefore, in response to macro-environmental changes, researchers have continued to adopt and develop disruptive research capabilities as a strategic attempt to respond to the demands of the research industry — something that has left me on the edge of my seat to see how brands will respond!

It certainly is intriguing to see so many brands already challenging the ‘norm’ of traditional research techniques, here are 5 disruptive insights and start-ups that have already caught my eyes.

In response to macro-environmental changes, researchers have continued to adopt and develop disruptive research techniques as a strategic attempt to respond to the demands of the research industry.

1. Smart Technology

Firstly! — Kantar Worldpanel. The adoption of smart technology is one social change that has been significantly illustrated in the US, where household penetration of this technology is now expected to reach 53.9% by 2023. In response to this trend, Kantar Worldpanel has already begun delving into the insights that can be obtained from users of smart speakers in the US.

By doing so, Kantar Worldpanel will be able to benefit from a greater understanding of consumers’ purchasing behaviour and smart technology product use. As a topic that has been previously explored in a blog by our CEO, Paul Hudson, it’s interesting to hear how brands are starting to underpin insights from smart technology in consumers’ homes.

This is a particularly innovative research technique as it enables researchers to gain timely insights without the intrusion associated with traditional research techniques such as ethnography. With the introduction of smart technology to households worldwide, I expect we will see a continued growth in the utilisation of research involving this technology.

2. Market Research App Store

Another brand that has caught my attention is Fuel Cycle, who provide researchers with the innovative research platform, Fuel Cycle Exchange. Described as an ‘app marketplace’, the platform integrates a full range of research apps such as Marketo and Meta4 Insight into one interface. Viewed as advantageous for researchers, the platform enables users to combine the functionality of each app to effectively form powerful insights. I think it’s fair to say, in an industry where agile research is constantly being demanded, Fuel Cycle Exchange is likely to be one platform that will have an influx of users due to the immense flexibility it provides.

3. Augmented Reality (AR)

One more disruption which is well worth mentioning is AR which has led to a development in researchers’ capabilities to respond to technological advancements in society. AR is an immersive tool which facilitates increased engagement between users and digital overlays in the real world. In this sense, AR is set to transform the research industry, providing a research environment that enhances participant engagement through the creation of immersive visual, informative and interactive research experiences.

Excitingly, AR is set to experience a growth in users that, along with an already large following of early adopters, has led the expectations of researcher capabilities to increase. Consequently, at no surprise, research techniques are beginning to evolve in order for researchers to remain relevant and responsive to AR brand’s needs.

It’s pretty impressive to see brands such as Touchstone Research already providing research findings from apps featuring AR allowing them to transform and diversify their research techniques. As a result, TouchStone Research are now able to provide real-time feedback about AR users and their interactions which can positively supports a variety of brands’ research objectives. It’s fair to say the omnipresence of hand held devices and the inclusion of AR will continue to influence research techniques. It’s refreshing to know that the advancement in technology is allowing boundaries between research participants and fieldwork to become even more seamless!

4. DIY Research Tools

For many brands, DIY research tools have proven to be a popular option for a few reasons. It can be suggested that popularity has increased due to DIY methods being viewed as faster, low cost and more hands-on; something that is certainly the case with user friendly online research platforms!

With Euromonitor International’s expectations for this trend to continue to proliferate, it will be interesting to see how agencies respond to brands preferred DIY methodology. Within FlexMR, I have observed the scale of brands choosing to use DIY research tools, which for many, has enabled them to benefit from heightened engagement in long term brand communities.

5. Artificial Intelligence

And finally…with the potential to disrupt the entire research industry, artificial intelligence (AI) is one driving factor modernising the entire way researchers do things. The clear benefits are highlighted by Forbes who suggest AI will lead to lower costs, quicker results and simpler research methods, all of which can be viewed positively for generating agile insights when informing decisions.

According to some studies, AI will enhance research practices through the identification of research participant’s sentiment during discussions — I’m sure you will agree this is one disruption that will revolutionise the entire research industry!

Despite this, it is worth acknowledging that there is some scepticism about introducing AI into research agencies. Forbes indicates that by removing the ‘human’ element of a brand, its authenticity can be lost and therefore the relationship between consumers and brands could become negatively impacted. Nonetheless, research firms such as Momentum are beginning to introduce AI into their operations, making it one disruption I am excited to see more of!

Most disruptive insights and startups revolve around technological advancements, such as the development of AR, VR, and AI. However, DIY research is also very popular, and opens up another market to innovation.


In short, it’s noticeable that there is no slowing down for disruptive insights and businesses, as seen from the introduction of AI to the advancement in research techniques already adopted. Consequently, we can expect disruptive and innovative research capabilities to continue to underpin the success of researchers.

Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing more of the expected changes to the research industry and I’m left excited to be part of FlexMR as it continues to future-proof its research capabilities! Are there any disruptions that have caught your eye, that you think should have made this list? Let us know in the comments.

The original version of this article appeared on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.

Written by

We empower brands to inform every decision at the speed of business by delivering on-demand insight and enterprise grade research technology.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store