At Forrester, we believe that 2012 is an inflection point for mobile market research. Specifically, 2012 will be considered the “big bang” for a new era in market research — one in which mobile devices will become a critical vehicle to connect, engage, and subsequently understand the consumer. As such, we have recently published two reports that address this very important emerging methodology for Market Insights (MI) Professionals.

The first report, entitled “The Mobile Market Research Landscape 2012,” explains why mobile research will become the heart of market research. Although only a fraction of MI Professionals are currently leveraging mobile, the report reviews the reasons why mobile is here to stay and the advantages of leveraging this approach — such as the ability to capture real-time insights, gain access to hard-to-reach sample, or get more personal with respondents. In addition, given the opportunities to collect different types of data via mobile phones, we provide an overview of the quantitative, qualitative, and behavioral approaches currently available. And, no overview report is complete without a discussion of the current challenges that still face mobile research, such as security and privacy, and our recommendations for what MI professionals need to do to prepare for this shift to this new world.

The second report, entitled “How To Plan For Mobile Online Survey Takers,” addresses a growing issue not often discussed among MI Professionals — the increase of what we call mobile online survey takers. We define this group as:

Survey respondents who use their mobile device (whether a mobile phone or tablet) to open, and possibly complete, online surveys that are designed and optimized for the traditional PC (whether a desktop or laptop).

How big is this problem? A recent study showed that the rate of online surveys completed via a mobile device in the US grew 21% quarter over quarter during the course of the year. And at this rate, the study concluded that approximately 18% of surveys taken in the US will be from a mobile device by the beginning of 2013. As you can imagine, this is a serious problem that affects survey results and survey quality. To help MI Professionals address this issue head on, we lay out a four-step approach to ensure both a better survey experience for respondents and quality data.

As always, I welcome any reaction to or comments on the findings or recommendations in both reports. Happy reading.