The Marketing & Research Foundation (MRF) has had a busy few months recently with the appointment of a new CEO, Johann Koster, and ensuring that the launch of MAPS remains on track.
In what is proving to be a very challenging period for the marketing industry, the MRF Board has quickly 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 26th of March 2020 has brought with it great concern and uncertainty,” says Johann. “But on the flipside of this uncertainty we wish to assure our subscribers and the marketing industry that MAPS 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 last year and was completed successfully by mid-February. After commencing 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 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,” says Johann. “The discussions are being guided by governmental regulations without jeopardising research quality and data integrity.”
Sifiso Falala CEO of PLUS 94 Research adds: “Research has 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.
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.”
With the country currently in Level 4 of lockdown, it’s clear that the industry is going to be 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. The industry will be kept appraised of any updates as we progress through these uncertain times,” says Johann.