As this is my first blog post, let me begin with a quick introduction. I’m Richard Evensen, the new senior analyst with the Market Insights (MI) group at Forrester. I’ve been working in market and media research for over 15 years. During this time, I’ve done M&A and joint venture assessments, multi-lingual media analyses, competitive intelligence, customer research, and complex market/financial modeling.

I’m happy to be part of the amazing brain trust at Forrester and will be supporting MI professionals with research and guidance on customer satisfaction (CSAT), competitive intelligence, emerging markets, and research best practices.

Over the past several decades, I’ve experienced significant changes in our profession. For better or worse, we’re nowhere near our steady state. Dimensions that have changed, and will continue to change, are:

  • Breadth. MI professionals cover an increasingly broad portfolio of responsibilities, providing insights across: industries, segments, geographies, product/service lifecycle stages, customers and competitors, and, now, real and virtual worlds. With high growth in emerging and online markets, competition increasing, and customers becoming more connected and savvy, MI professionals need to have very long arms and research reach.
  • Depth. Our industry has moved from providing data to research to insights. Increasingly, MI professionals’ clients want actionable recommendations, which require a strong working knowledge of multiple business areas. As these demands grow, MI professionals need to move up the value chain.
  • Speed. Information demands have moved from annual reports to more frequent deliverables. Focus has moved from long-term strategic to short-term tactical and point-in-time guidance. With agile methodologies and fast-moving markets, turnaround times will continue to shrink, ultimately requiring MI to provide JIT (just-in-time) insight capabilities.
  • Value. Although happening somewhat slower than other changes, MI professionals will — like other business units in the organization — need to prove the value of their work in order to rationalize spending and secure funding. MI “cost-centers” will see funding cuts or increased workloads in an effort to drive greater value from these operations.

Although demanding, these changes can help MI move up the value chain and increase influence in the organization. Over the next couple of months, I’ll provide research to help MI professionals meet some of these new professional challenges, including a report on how to align research to ROI and showcase the value of MI.

I’d love to hear your views. What do you think?