In what is proving to be a very challenging period for the marketing industry, the Marketing Research Foundation’s Board has put processes in place to ensure the continuity it has built over the past few months, continues.
“There is no disputing that our world is rapidly changing at a level we’ve never seen before. The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that came into effect on the 26 March 2020 has brought with it great concern and uncertainty,” said newly appointed CEO, Johann Koster.
“But on the flipside of this uncertainty we wish to assure our subscribers and the marketing industry that MAPS (the products and brands replacement survey for AMPS) is alive and well and we are working closely, but virtually, with stakeholders and Plus 94 Research, our research partner, to maintain business continuity.”
The pilot fieldwork on MAPS began in December 2019 and was completed successfully by mid-February. But after starting the actual fieldwork in March, it became clear that COVID-19 would make it impossible to continue with face-to-face interviewing, halting the process for now, the MRF said.
“The MRF and its technical committee, supported by Plus 94 Research, are currently evaluating contingency plans and alternative solutions that will allow us to continue data collection during lockdown and the anticipated subsequent period of restricted mobility and social interaction,” said Koster. “The discussions are being guided by governmental regulations without jeopardising research quality and data integrity.”
Sifiso Falala, CEO of PLUS 94 Research said research had always been there to help our customers deal with uncertainty. “COVID-19 has exponentially increased uncertainties faced by businesses, and made any long term planning appear at best speculative. Consumers are being jump-started into making quick decisions, and for some, even into reviewing their value system. For this reason, a comprehensive tracking survey such as MAPS is more essential than ever before.”
Falala said that unlike in past years when methodology, if chosen correctly, was pretty much background noise, “we are seeing an evolution of the importance of methodological adaptation. The discussion of methods used to gather the data will be in the foreground and as exciting as the expected insights themselves”.
Koster said that with the country currently in Level 4 of lockdown, it was clear that the industry would remain in a restricted environment for some time to come. Many businesses now more than ever, require sound research and consumer insights to guide their decision making.
“At the MRF, we believe that the need for MAPS is more critical than ever and we’re working tirelessly with our partners and members to make MAPS a reality,” he said. T”he industry will be kept appraised of any updates as we progress through these uncertain times.”
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