By: Richard Thornton
While the MR industry has evolved significantly in recent years, with efficiency being a key theme, the supply chain is changing further. Suppliers are moving upstream and servicing end clients, new firms are coming in and challenging MR, and sample exchange platforms – allowing panel suppliers to monetize their panels and buyers of sample to access a wide range of respondents – are becoming more prevalent. Manual functions are increasingly being automated and everyone is striving to shorten the number of steps in the process by getting closer to either the end user or the respondent.
Many MR players are developing innovative approaches, products and services to thrive in this evolving landscape – as well as meeting the demands for greater efficiencies while upholding quality, control and transparency.
Better solutions to manage sample supply are emerging all the time. Advanced dashboard technology is putting the power back into the hands of the user. Removing steps in the delivery process is offering better control of elements such as pricing and speed, and upholding quality by making the sample selection and data gathering processes fully transparent. Enhanced reporting capabilities are helping to identify additional panel monetization opportunities, helping to keep panelists engaged and therefore securing the sample supply for the future.
Alongside this, API integrations are becoming much more sophisticated and, in line with the automation theme, the emergence of push supply technology is allowing suppliers to further monetize their panels. The thirst for faster insights in the marketplace is fueling these kinds of developments and driving the growth of push suppliers, which are becoming a real force in the market.
Automation in MR is a powerful ally in the price war. Sadly, price can still be a significant factor for many MR players, and the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true – so to work on price alone means choosing a partner that will look to cut corners to be able to work within the parameters of a lower price. The advances in automation are helping to remove the manual and often time-consuming steps, thus reducing cost. In the long run, this will help MR players forge long-lasting relationships based on high-quality service, not price.
It’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in this industry; the disruption that has occurred over the last five years has been monumental. It has been a source of worry for some, but it should be embraced. Enhanced efficiency through increased automation has transformed the way business is being done and will continue to drive forward an industry based on quality, control and transparency. And any MR firms that don’t embrace that may find themselves struggling in this new landscape.