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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Ric H68

some good points, but the biggest question I have is how would you stop legislators from defining marketing research? I think it would inevitably define the industry by saying what it can and can't do.
What is the biggest sin that marketing researchers can commit? Fraud, probably. This is already criminal. The vast majority of other sins really fall under error and negligence, which are probably best controlled by self regulations, as the impact of the error and negligence is usually monetary loss for clients.

Are governments are going to start appointing research czars? Certification is a tough enough battle, legislation would require the general public to start caring a bit more. Lets work towards that first.
Rick Hobbs @rhobber

Fantastic series of posts. I largely agree with your analysis (I wouldn't ban commercial activities targeted at children; in my opinion the sooner people are exposed, the quicker they become ad-savvy. But then I'm not parent). One point I would place additional emphasis on is in the education (if not legislation or guidance) of the public on the joined-up nature of their online interactions. Single comments or actions may be innocuous enough but they be combined to build powerful profiles (that may be linked to their real identity) that the person may not be aware of or approve of.

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