We are the Village Green Preservation Society
God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety
We are the Desperate Dan Appreciation Society
God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties
Preserving the old ways from being abused
Protecting the new ways for me and for you
What more can we do
– The Kinks

The nostalgia conveyed by these lyrics always hits home this time of year. “God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety.” A prized family portrait shows my great-grandfather with his brother on a Vaudeville stage. Hennings have reveled in reciting corny jokes in front of audiences for generations, it seems.

As December slips into January, it’s fashionable to make bold predictions on what the New Year has in store for us. If you trusted all the coverage of market research in blogs, on Twitter and at conferences, you’d think most research today was social media research, mobile research and MROCs.

Of course, most research today involves online surveys, telephone surveys and focus groups.

And that’s as it should be. Our village green of market researchers meeting offline still discusses the methodological issues that shape great surveys and focus groups. A rich academic literature constantly advances the field.

The new research methods are being tested and proven. And our village green of market researchers online is helping experiment and validate these methods. And evangelize them. Boy, does it evangelize them!

This December, as with every December, we stand on the edge of history, balancing the weight of the past against the needs of the future. Unless we want to find ourselves in a jam, we must preserve the old ways from being abused, while protecting the new ways.

And finding a role for ourselves in the process. My great-grandfather never made the transition to silent films.

God save the Kinks, and God save the market researchers.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.