Diversity has become a key focus in the market research industry and for good reason: our space is in the unique position of having what can be seen as a “first-hand relationship” with the consumer. While other data and insights may be collected through second or third-party means, we actually get to ask the questions directly of the individuals we want to know more about.
This also places significant responsibility on the shoulders of market research leaders to address diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI). It’s something that our client companies in every industry want to address, with motivations including everything from underscoring existing company values to customer or employee demands, all the way to seeking a positive impact on the bottom line.
Brands want support for diversity initiatives
Whatever the reason for implementing DEI initiatives, the fact is that they are under scrutiny from key audiences. In just one small example, Gen Z alone says that they will boycott companies that discriminate against race and sexuality across advertisement campaigns. It’s critical to have the right insights that are reflective of changing audiences and of all segments of the population. And that’s where market research comes in.
We must deliver representative insights in which all the voices are heard - boiling down to these kinds of questions: is the sample being used for research projects diverse and representative of the greater population? Are minority populations included at proper levels?
Accurate, quality insights are critical to avoiding a misstep when it comes to developing and acting on DEI initiatives. Only with all segments of the population properly represented will your insights be robust and comprehensive, and help to guide these important actions. Organizations need to really “get” what their customer base is looking for, and then they must authentically deliver on those expectations. Customers will easily see through superficial gestures toward equality and diversity.
Market research is stepping up to the plate for DEI
These are just a few of the high-level factors that are encouraging leaders in the market research industry to take a closer look at diversity from the ground up. The Market Research Society has a Diversity, Inclusion & Equality Council to help guide the industry as a whole in these important issues, as well as its MRSPride group which aims to provide a platform for LGBTQ+ consumer insight and methodological best practice. The Insights Association’s IDEA Council produces measurement, standards and education to address the lack of representation in the U.S. insights sector.There are several other groups with formal initiatives like Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), Women in Research’s WIRe in Color, Colour Of Research Ltd and Insights in Color - all committed to promoting inclusive practices for the market research industry.
This conversation promises to accelerate in the future, as there are clear benefits to pursuing DEI initiatives across the board. Market research has a responsibility to champion racial, gender and minority population diversity. This means sample that is more representative, insights that are more robust, and the deft use of market research reporting and analysis solutions to ensure we are understanding all the data as quickly as it is coming at us.