The time was ticking past 10pm, the networking event winding down and then from left field a suggestion that surprised me.
“Online surveys have only got 2-3 years left so make the most of it”
So taking that line of thought, I asked why, thought about it some more and came up with a conclusion.
And that conclusion for those of you interested…. rubbish! Hmm was that too subtle? No?…. Good…. So, why do I think that?
Let’s look at the sectors that influence online surveys. Research and technology.
Research is a mature sector. Technology is evolving at break neck speed and changes are occurring every day.
Now let’s consider information and knowledge. Is there a chance that in say 3 years time, society will lose its thirst for knowledge? Is it likely business leaders will stop undertaking research ahead of fundamental business change or merger and acquisition activity? Is it likely companies launching new products and services will do so without a research project? No. If anything, we can perceive this becoming more of a crucial aspect of business to ensure company directors are protected from stakeholders as legislation changes and evolves.
None of us know the future with certainty but if we look back 3 years, maybe that could provide an inkling of insight. 3 years ago… where was the iphone or its smart phone counterparts? What version of internet explorer were we running? And how intuitive and accurate was google?
Smart phones, web browsers and search engines all utilise information. Some entered, some interrogated. Three years ago information was crucial. Today information is crucial. In three years time information will still be crucial.
If we go back further to the start of the internet. Consider the dotcom bubble. Technology has evolved incredibly in that time, and it would be naive to say that online research will stay static.
As humans we naturally want to learn, to know, to understand. And surveying is a vital way to do that.
Will the survey market be the same as it is today? I would hope not. My hope is the seedier side of “research” is exposed for what it is (data reselling of personal information) and that technologies improve and allow a more intuitive mechanism for canvassing opinion.
The questions I would pose to our online surveying counterparts. How are you going to remain relevant in a market that burgeons with cheap or free solutions that show no desire to gain information of value? And by value I don’t mean in monetary terms.
How will you capture information safely and share it in a method that assists, analyses and translates into knowledge?
And how will you demonstrate the value of sharing opinion to participants and encouraging uptake in surveys once society understands the downsides to financial inducement?
We believe our collective quest should be to harmonise with companies and individuals. Not interrogate and pester. Not to negatively impact on an individuals activities. But instead to run alongside them. Provide honest choices and options and ensure our views aren’t impressed upon others.
And if we’re waving a magic wand now…. in three years time I’d love web surveys that pop up before I’ve had chance to look at the site itself to explode!!! Seriously… how annoying are they??? Maybe we should look at creating a web tool that smashes web pop up surveys… hmmm, that’s a thought! Sorry… a very swift soliloquy.
As with all sectors, all industries and all businesses of varying shapes and sizes…. our industry will evolve. It’s a relatively new addition to a mature market. We hope we’re not alone amongst our peers in driving that evolution to be moral, ethical and innovative.