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The 2020 market research survival guide

Access the latest research on industry trends and get expert tips for moving forward with confidence.

Jon Cohen

2020 is a challenging year. In order to succeed, organizations around the globe need to effectively adapt, but many are unsure about next steps. Find out what we learned from speaking to industry experts, including surveys of over 2,000 market research pros—both pre- and post-COVID-19—about how and why they're using market research to navigate the changing marketplace.

Table of Contents

Companies can’t get the data they need to make good decisions

Nearly 9 in 10 companies are using market research to inform at least some business decisions today

87% of companies use market research

Yet almost half of the people conducting that market research encounter hurdles to getting data

Katie Clarke

Market research consultant

As a researcher, you need to prove time and time again that making data-driven decisions is good business sense.

The shift to DIY

Rethinking how market research gets done

Only 24% of market research pros are able to meet all stakeholder demands

24% of market research pros are able to meet all stakeholder demands

70% of market research professionals say they are likely to transition to more DIY tools in the next year

Pepper Miller

President, The Hunter-Miller Group

Always begin with the objectives. What are you trying to learn? What gaps, if any, are you trying to fill? Your DIY research surveys will flow from these objectives.

Assessing challenges

Getting efficient with market research

Nearly one-third of researchers cite cost as the top challenge with conducting market research

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While 33% work for companies that have a growing market research budget, 67% have a shrinking or stable budget for their market research

Erika Heald

Content marketing consultant

When your budget goes away, that doesn’t mean you can’t do market research—it just means you have to get scrappy about it.

Adapting to COVID-19

How market research has been impacted by industry changes

25% of companies who have experienced cuts to marketing budgets say the cuts have been significant

25% of companies who have experienced cuts to marketing budgets say the cuts have been significant

Over half of respondents are expected to stretch their marketing budget to do more

Steve Levine

Marketing consultant

Don’t consume data through a single point in time. Synthesize information through a dual lens, which is pre- and post-COVID-19. The world has changed and we are all experiencing a new normal.

Aspiring to win

How high-growth companies compete using research

Over half of companies that experienced financial growth in the past year increased use of DIY market research from 5 years ago

54% of companies that experienced financial growth in the past year increased use of DIY market research from 5 years ago

More than a third of market researchers who state their companies are experiencing financial growth are employing agile market research methods at work

Jamin Brazil

Host, Happy Market Research Podcast

Insights already has a seat at the table among top growth companies. It starts with a question, ‘Do we want to incorporate the customer into our product road map, customer care, and strategic decisions?’

Aligning to stay agile

3 steps to implementing a research-first culture

Nearly a third of companies who exclusively use DIY market research have all decisions at their company informed by market research data

19% of market researchers struggle with leaders who don't value their research

Rob McLoughlin

Founder & CEO, DCDR

Research leaders need to actively plan for success by ensuring their priorities and resources are truly aligned with their company’s short and longer term strategy and goals.

Contributors & Methodology

Thanks to our contributors who lent their voices and experiences to this report.

Roben Allong

Roben Allong
CEO
Lightbeam Communications

Robert McLoughlin

Rob McLoughlin
Founder & CEO
DCDR

Pepper Miller

Pepper Miller
President
The Hunter-Miller Group

Erika Heald

Erika Heald
Content marketing consultant

Julie Levine

Julie Levine
Sr consumer insights manager
Cuisinart

Katie Clark

Katie Clark
Market research consultant

Jamin Brazil

Jamin Brazil
Host
Happy Market Research Podcast

Iris Yim

Iris Yim
Principal
Sparkle Insights

Matt Seltzer

Matt Seltzer
Market research & strategy consultant
S2 Research

Steve Levine

Steve Levine
Marketing consultant

Ray Poynter

Ray Poynter
Founder
NewMR

Jake Pryszlak

Jake Pryszlak
Market researcher & blogger
The Research Geek

Dyna Boen

Dyna Boen
Consultant
Escalent

Daniel Scharff

Daniel Scharff
Director of strategy, insights, and analytics
JUST

Chuck Liu

Chuck Liu
Head of research
Chime

Methodology Pre-COVID-19 quarantine survey: This SurveyMonkey Audience survey was conducted online March 1, 2020 among a national sample of 5,000 people ages 18 or older including 1,916 people who are currently employed full or part-time and are conducting market research. Respondents for this survey were selected from the over 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.

Methodology for Marketers during COVID-19 survey: This survey was conducted online May 15, 2020 with a sample of 2,456 panelists from SurveyMonkey Audience and 723 panelists from Cint. The final sample included 492 respondents (305 from Cint and 187 from SurveyMonkey Audience) who met the following three criteria: 1) employed full time, business owner, or furloughed/ laid off from their job due to COVID-19, 2) has authority for or is aware of the marketing budget for their team/organization, and 3) works at one of the following seven departments: marketing, market research or insights, operations, product or product management, customer experience, executive management/C-suite, or self-employed.