The research industry and bodies like ESOMAR are at a critical junction in their history. As it stands today, the research industry remains grounded in largely unchallenged late twentieth-century assumptions. There are significant shifts in client needs, coupled with material changes in our ability to understand behaviour, a proliferation of data, and advances in technology. These forces mean there is real risk that the industry loses relevance, or becomes obsolete in its current form. The primary aim of this paper is to set the context for why client functions need to change, to discuss what the client side role will look like, and how it will add value to organisations.