I just returned from the ESOMAR world congress in Montreal. The content was not very exciting but one theme I picked up - which is evident in a lot of talk and thinking around research these days is the notion of movement, change, transformation. I think a lot of criticism of research is that it does not capture the dynamic aspect of consumer behaviour. Why? Because it's hard. It is easy to ask consumers what they think but hard to track what they do - and how that changes.
But clients see current "static" consumer segmentations as too simple and not providing the insight they need to meet consumer needs that are often very dynamic.
Shopper research in particular needs to capture this dynamism as often we are researching and trying to understand the process rather than the person. As Steve Phillips from Spring Research says - it's not about why but about how. How is the decision made.
Aside from the difficulty of capturing the process, it is also hard for marketers to understand it. They are used to acting on static consumer typologies etc.
Environics Consumer Insights' The Mental World of the Shopper segments shopping trips by a combination of demographics (male 25 to 34), context (alone) and mission (quick trip to get ingredients). We are going to be looking a lot closer at how to best capture and communicate this dynamic aspect of the consumer.