Data Gurus


2021 Perspectives for the Data Industry | Ep. 120

This is the first episode in our MRX Podcast Network series. I am excited to kick this year off with an episode focused on perspectives and thoughts related to our industry for 2021.

A year like no other

2020 has been a year like no other. As an industry, we collaborated, we called on each other for help, and we were there for each other, both personally and professionally. That was an important statement, and it showed me that, as an industry, we are resilient, we can adapt, we can pivot, and find a path forward.

No playbook

We have no playbook to follow. And we can’t look at history to know what will happen with consumer behavior, consumer attitudes, consumer perceptions, and the decisions and choices that companies will make, both on the supplier side and the in-client side.

The good news

The good news for our industry is that people need information and insights to inform the decisions they have to make. I think that 2021 is going to be a vital time for our industry to get more engaged and to focus on being able to provide solutions.

Stakeholder capitalism

2020 was a year when we saw stakeholder capitalism take place. Employees and consumers wanted companies to stand for something beyond profit and loss, and they wanted companies to be linked to the values they represent. They wanted to vote with their dollars as to the companies they believed in, and the products and services they believed in that were in line with their value system.

A big question

The big question is, as brands, organizations, and companies grow, will that concept allow for sustainable growth? And does that translate to performance and something real that shareholders and investors can believe in? Those are topics that need to be researched and understood.

Playing a vital part

The silver lining is that our industry can play a vital part in helping companies to answer some of those questions.

2021 is going to be similar to 2020

In 2020, every week felt like a month because many decisions were getting made. So we had to be faster because things were moving. In my mind, 2021 is going to be similar. It will continue to be fast because brands and clients will have to accelerate the speed at which they operate.


Technology is essential in our industry. It will cut across the entire landscape.

Faster and more efficient

Organizations will have to be faster and more efficient in how they go to market, launch new products, develop campaigns, sell, manage their supply chain, manage their employees, and hire. Every function and business process will need to be quicker, and companies will need to keep up because if they don’t do it, a competitor will.

Deliver solutions

As part of the data, marketing, research, insights ecosystem, we need to deliver solutions to meet those needs. And to do that, we will have to adapt and do things a little differently in 2021.

Impacting each part of the data ecosystem

Over the years, we have seen tech-enabled companies impacting every part of the data ecosystem. When there is technology, there is scale. And when there’s scale, there is investment. So, I believe that in 2021 and beyond, we will continue to see capital getting put into our industry. And that is a good thing because it keeps innovation alive and allows us to grow our share of the pie in terms of dollars spent.

The driver

The driver is speed and to facilitate decision-making as efficiently as possible.

Strategic research

We need to continue doing strategic research and using metrics to understand how we are doing.

Parts of the value chain where technology plays a vital role

You can enhance what you are doing with technology. You can create a new business model where we are seeing tech and scale, subscription revenue, and a different sales model.

API (Application Protocol Interface)

API has made a big impact in the sample world and it will continue to be prominent and grow. And we will get additional data sets through API connections, making us faster and more efficient in delivering richer data.

Consumer insights

Consumer insights within brand organizations will do well to democratize the use of information through visualization and platforms that create automated charts and get the insights faster to a broader audience and make the value more about the decisions that get made around the insights because people need to get empowered with insights.

Empower people

To operate faster, we need to empower people with insights. People need to understand quickly what the results of a study are.

Change is hard

Change is hard, but it takes just one company to change, and others will follow.


The data is not the power. It is the fuel that drives decisions.

An opportunity

Consumer insights and market research professionals have a huge opportunity now because many tech-enabled platforms did not get developed by traditional researchers. They got developed by innovators and people who want to build new business models. And they need the partnership, the experience, and the understanding of what the playbook is for data. And they need to know what the parameters that are going to guide the decision-making are. So, as a result of the technology, there will be a great need for data governance, improved data quality practices, and ultimately, data stewards.

We have an opportunity to blend our industry, up our game, and share our experience. And as a result, we can make our industry even stronger.

We need to be open, embrace change, and ultimately, be leaders of this journey.


Email me your thoughts!




Paradigm Sample