As research geeks, the only thing we love more than writing about the latest insight trends, methodologies and technologies is reading about them. Fortunately for us, the insight community is full of fascinating and diverse opinions to explore. There is almost always something new to discover, to the point that it can almost be a challenge to keep up with the pace of change. But we’re always on the lookout for the cutting edge – companies and individuals seeking to push the boundaries of market research further than ever before and find exciting new ways to deliver real value.
At the time of writing this, our previous list of blog recommendations approaches 5 years old. A lot can happen in that time, especially in an industry always looking to the future. So, we felt it was time for a refresh. These are the top 12 insight and market research blogs we’ll be following in 2019 to keep up with the latest advancements from across the industry.
No list of the top research blogs would be complete without a mention of Greenbook - for sheer volume and diversity of opinion alone. In addition to a regular stock of industry leading authors, the Greenbook blog is also a fantastic place to discover new voices in the insight industry who often shed light on niche topics not currently within the mainstream discourse of the market research community.
That's not to mention of the variety of formats on offer too. In addition to regular blog posts, expect webinars, podcasts, case studies and sponsored content. In fact, in deciding whether or not to include Greenbook on this list forced us to really consider what a blog even is. But ultimately, the focus on opinion over news and sheer volume of non-regular contributors convinced us to include it.
It would be an understatement to say that the scope of the Vision Critical blog is vast. However, the main focus of posts over the past year has been around a topic that receives less attention than it deserves in the research industry - customer experience. From whitepapers and webinars to event summaries and opinions from client-side marketers, the Vision Critical blog is a goldmine of advice on how to improve customer experience through insight. In fact, it would probably be fair to say the audience of this blog is the marketing community, more so than research professionals, but that doesn't mean there isn't a ton of information there that we can all learn from.
The Zappi blog is difficult to sum up in a single word, but if there is one that is close it’s trendy. The posts shared on the Zappi blog cover a wide range of topics, from automation to advertising, customer experience to new product development. One thing is for certain though, each of these carefully crafted posts feels like a deep dive into a new world.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the Zappi research blog, however, is when the lid is lifted off the company itself. Articles are not shy about sharing internal processes, and it provides a fascinating look at one of the most innovative research technology firms in action.
Interested in video market research? The Voxpopme blog is the place for you. The articles on this blog contain a wealth of information on how to make the most of video based methods and ways it can make a real difference to brands. This is blended with discussions on customer experience, storytelling and industry commentaries. In short, it’s your one-stop-shop for all things video.
Notable contributors: Dr Annie Pettit (@LoveStats)
LoveStats is a special kind of blog – not concerned with what the latest and greatest trends in the research industry are, instead focussing on the topics most important to its author, Dr Annie Pettit. There are a lot of great reasons to follow LoveStats, including, regular conference summaries, debates on privacy, even comparisons between questionnaire writing and Star Wars. It’s clear that LoveStats isn’t written to sell or promote, instead it’s a place of enthusiasm, optimism and passion for research.
The System1 Research blog is definitely on the quirky side, with titles such as "Why we sent clients roast crickets for Christmas" and "Purpose Marketing - Meet the Brand That's Quacked It." These slightly offbeat topics should give you a good idea of what to expect; posts packed full of personality, but also fascinating dissections of case studies at the intersection of marketing and research. Expect to read about behavioural science, brand building, innovation and lots of advertising. And we mean lots of advertising. If that's your thing, this is definitely the place for you.
The NewMR blog, curated by Ray Poynter and Sue York, has been a long time staple of the research industry. Posts cover a range of topics, but often include an aspect of innovation or future thinking. Analogies, observations and personal experience make up a good portion of the posts on NewMR, providing a fresh perspective; one that is not always favourable to the latest trends, but always provides a great starting point for discussions.
The quality and carefully crafted nature of every article on the C_Space blog lend it the feel of a publisher rather than a blog - something that certainly keeps us reading. Posts are interesting, relevant and - perhaps most importantly - not concerned with what's in vogue in the wider insight industry. Recent articles discuss the beauty of imperfection, sprinting fast & slow and hunting for black swans. There's even a piece on what insight can learn from the famous Italian nurse Florence Nightingale.
When you're looking for a break from the constant barrage of opinions on the same few trends, the C_Space blog offers a quiet retreat, something different to read and thought-provoking opinion.
Similar to Greenbook, we simply had to include Qualrics on this list because of the sheer volume of content the team are producing. Churning out between four to five articles per week (sometimes more), there's too much to keep up with. However, within the reams of articles, there are sure to be a couple of interest. Most pieces are centred around practical tips and advice for various projects, company news and event summaries.
If nothing else, it will be fascinating to witness throughout 2019 if and how the company's acquisition by SAP has any impact on the content the team produce; a telling sign of what the enterprise software firms see as the future of customer experience, market research and the relationship between the two.
Not quite a blog as such, but as podcasts become a more widely consumed format – why not try one dedicated to market research? Jamin Brazil posts interview style podcasts on a weekly basis with leaders and experts from all corners of the insight industries. A blend of client and agency side commentators provide advice, opinions and stories in engaging 40 minute episodes. Previous guests have included Fiona Blades of MESH, Rudy Nadilo of Dapressy and Bob Lederer of RFL Communications.
Audio podcasts are available on the Happy Market Research site, alongside the Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts platforms. Transcripts from interviews are also available on the site.
Perhaps it’s the practical tips posted on the Research Rockstar blog that attracted us to it, or perhaps it’s the academic debates Kathryn discusses with a no-nonsense attitude. One of the articles that caught our eye recently highlighted the many meanings of the word DIY in research and how the term is becoming a catch all phrase with a number of definitions. A lot of Kathryn’s posts on Research Rockstar take the format of a short written intro, accompanied by a deep dive YouTube video and audio podcast so you can even listen on the go.
While many blogs indulge flights of fancy and far off futurism - the Lightspeed blog is not one of these. It feels particularly grounded in the day to day challenges that researchers face, and looking at the practical ways of solving these problems. The Lightspeed team often address these challenges individually. But we also love the multi-part series that form deeper dives into large and complex issues - such as marketing data integration with research.
For the purposes of this list, we’ve excluded research industry publications and news outlets from this list. However, a wide range of print and online publications do exist. A few of our personal favourites include:
There are also many research blogs that we weren’t able to list here, but still provide a wealth of valuable information. In fact, as I reflect on this list – I feel fortunate and privileged to work in an industry which has such a close knit community that fosters debate and encourages different points of view. So, I would like to close this article by saying thank you; to the insights community and everyone who contributes to the conversation on how we improve this fantastic industry we work in.
Where do you go to keep up with the latest news in the market research and insight industries? Let us know your favourite blogs and publications in the comments below.
Chris is experienced in marketing strategy and brand development, which he uses to skilfully guide the FlexMR brand to its full potential. Chris works hard maximising opportunities and ensuring the brand’s offering is relevant and appealing to insights professionals. You can follow Chris on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.