Two Brains, Two Nets

In web applications and software, the trend is a towards simplicity and intuitive decision making. You don’t need to have expert knowledge in order to use it.

Still, market research tools are mostly based on cognitively assessed data. For that, market researcher Tom Ewing criticises his own profession. At NEXT Berlin 2012 he predicts a decreasing relevance of market studies that ask what people want. Especially since most of the time they don’t even know themselves. Will market research be irrelevant in the future?

Most decisions we take are not based on analysis, but on emotions and instinct. Therefore applications based on this reflect a more natural behavior. Nevertheless, the emotional aspect of software cannot be assessed via web analytics – but by market research. A shift in its object of study will be necessary: “Asking consumers what they want could be a dead issue, but asking them how they feel could still be useful.”

Tom Ewing is Digital Culture Officer at Brainjuicer, a UK-based market research agency. His work is focused on the interface between social media and market research. Ewing is also working as a pop music critic.