As the world starts discussing the intricacies of the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus’ predictions and the potential appearance of “Planet X” in 2012, we thought we would get the conversation focused on something much more important … the future of Market Insights. No, there’s no doomsday planned for our profession but, yes, there may be some cataclysmic events for some market insights professionals as they get hit by increasing demands from executives and stakeholders who are struggling to keep up with competitive disruption and fast-changing customer preferences.

Forrester will shortly publish the “Predictions 2012: What Will Happen In Market Research” report. In it, we’ll detail major tectonic shifts which we’ve been monitoring in the industry and why we are reaching a tipping point where constancy is now riskier than change. Some factors contributing to this include:

  • Companies need to change.Disruptors are changing the rules of the game with their “shoot-aim-ready!” business model and the internet has greatly enhanced customer power, influence and choice.  To survive in this environment, companies need to embrace continuous market and performance monitoring and business improvement.
  • Market insights needs to change. Changes at the company level will force market insights departments to change their deliverables and business processes. Key changes include providing more agile insights, deeper and more strategic insights and more proactive competitive intelligence. Those which don’t face being replaced by Shadow MI.
  • Market insights professionals need to change. Finally, to meet the demands of their departments, market insights professionals will need to “up their game” and become like the Six Million Dollar Man (better … stronger … faster!). This means delivering insights better, providing stronger strategic guidance and being much faster than you ever were before!

This started us to thinking – what might this professional look like?

But now, we would love to hear from you. How do market insights professionals need to change in order to succeed? How will the market insights professional of the future look like in your opinion?

To make this more interesting, we’re holding a contest on the market insights community site (here). Contribute your own “2012 Market Insights Professional” picture and vote on others’ submissions. The entry that receives the most votes by January 1, 2012 will receive a $100 gift card (or $100 donation to your charity of choice). We will also award two $50 gift cards/donations for the two entries with the next most votes.