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Life is full of opportunity if you are prepared to be brave and it's time for market research around the world to be braver. The marketing profession is increasingly being asked to be accountable to business all of the time, it's not just a symptom of tough economic times.

Earlier this year IBM released results of their October 2011 first ever global CMO study of 1700 CMO's across 64 countries and found that marketers are trying to evolve and survive in the digital era, and be accountable. They found that market and technology factors are the two most powerful external forces that are driving increased levels of complexity as change continues.

80% of CMO's believe the level of complexity will be vey high over the next five years and only 48% feel prepared to cope with it. The main areas here these senior marketing decision makers feel underprepared in are:

1. Explosion of data
2. Social media
3. The growth of channel and device choices
4. Shifting consumer demographics

These are all areas that brave and adaptable market research professionals can help with if we are brave and adapt.

The data explosion is causing a headache and one of our key skills is being able to pull out conclusions from large amounts of data. Social media is creating large amounts of data and there is no end of tools to collect this information: but we all know that is only half the battle. Making sense of it is key and we have the skill in this.

The IBM study concluded that critical to the future success of marketing is being able to walk a mile in your customers' shoes and truly understanding each stage of the customer experience - do we need any greater invitation?

The key, for me, is how do we do this?

We need to start tweaking our education, our conferences and dialogue to be better prepared to engage more with the marketing profession. We also need to work hard to ensure our offer and approach are right for the times for marketers. Using technology to improve the speed of delivery of information and content analysis is key as is improved design and presentation of the story.

With increasing globalization, we need to extend co-operation and collaboration across markets. We need to invest in technology and education and find ways of information exchange around the world to repackage the market research offer so that it is right for today's marketing profession.

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