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Measuring the Transformation of Insights and Analytics

Measuring the Transformation of Insights and Analytics

Michael Brereton, Melanie Courtright and Reg Baker

measuring the transformation of insights and analytics

Despite the lack of a standardized method to measure the broadened U.S. insights and analytics market, this report builds on prior efforts to better understand the industry

The “2020 U.S. Top 50 Report”—formerly known as “The Gold Report”—is developed by Diane Bowers and produced in partnership with the Insights Association and Michigan State University. The report is also sponsored by the AMA, ESOMAR and the Global Research Business Network. The report includes a ranking of the top 50 companies, a breakdown of trends by Bowers, and an analysis of the market research and analytics industry by Michael Brereton, Melanie Courtright and Reg Baker.

The Transforming Industry

The market research industry, as we have known it for decades, is disappearing. It is being absorbed into a rapidly transforming collection of market intelligence sub-disciplines. For some of us, this dynamic represents an opportunity to deliver a far more comprehensive voice of the market, to transform our agency business model and substantially increase its valuation—a stair-step increase in the decision-making impact of the insights we deliver. For others, this phenomenon represents a threat, a question of whether the traditional insights role within our client organizations will remain, a question of whether survey research will have a continued seat at the table and a concern regarding the future valuation of our research agency companies.

Regardless of whether this point of view elicits a positive or negative reaction, today’s conference agendas, industry journals, and merger and acquisition activity leave little doubt that a significant industry transformation is underway.


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Michael Brereton is the retired CEO of MaritzCX and currently executive in residence with the Master of Science in Marketing Research (MSMR) program at the Michigan State University Eli Broad School of Business. Michigan State’s MSMR is the leading graduate program in market research and is devoted to creating the next generation of leadership for the transforming insights and analytics industry.

Melanie Courtright is CEO of the Insights Association and former executive VP of research science and data strategy at Dynata.

Reg Baker is ESOMAR’s regional ambassador and a consultant to its Professional Standards Committee.