Monday, April 21, 2008

It's time for market research outsourcing

Source : Click

With businesses increasingly becoming consumer-led, the new buzz in town goes by a different abbreviation: MRO or market research outsourcing. The global outsourcing opportunity for MRO is $4 billion with India accounting for $150 million of this pie.

MRO, which concerns itself with understanding customer behaviour, is catching up. The segment for marketing and customer informatics is growing rapidly, says Anantha Krishnan, chairman and CEO, Dexterity. Till recently, Dexterity was focussing on research and analytics space but has now turned its attention to marketing and customer informatics.

Similarly, the Mumbai-based Fractal Analytics is getting into the thick of things. Today, there is a tremendous explosion of data, and companies are keen to know why a customer patronises one brand over another, says Srikanth Velamakanni, CEO, Fractal.

Says Sunil Mirani, CEO of Ugam Solutions, Everyone wants to get a share of customer's wallet. Price-service differential across categories is minimal. So, it becomes imperative to understand what drives the consumers towards a particular product.

For example, the $12-million Fractal provides known value item (KVI) analysis wherein it identifies those key items for retailers on which customers expect good bargains. "We identify those items and develop a pricing strategy that it is better than its competition. In some cases, those items can end up being price leaders in their respective categories," says Velamakanni.

MRO companies in India are targeting domains like retail, telecom, BFSI (banking, financial, services and insurance) and media and entertainment. Some like Dexterity and Ugam also closely work with global market research organisations helping them conduct surveys through Web and phone and work with them in collating and mining data.

Players are migrating to high-end analytics, modelling of marketing mix (analytic solutions deployed to improve brand performance, optimise marketing spends and enhance sales volumes) and risk analytics (solutions that are geared towards controlling default and bad debts as well as improving collections). India has a large pool of mathematical talent which can be leveraged easily to do the high-end work, says Velamakanni.