Taking stock

Date of publication: June 15, 1985

Author: Eileen Cole

Abstract:

How then to sum up what we see so far in this decade. Certainly we have much to be pleased and proud about. Our industry well established in the business league; growing strongly in real turnover and volume terms; resilient in the face of economic problems; thrusting and dynamic in its search for new business and new markets and with plenty of potential. It is still perhaps not as commercially conscious as it should be - as its margins indicate - and in this area there are lessons to be learned. And these need to be learned not only to improve immediate profitability. It is apparent that the structure of the industry is likely to change, perhaps dramatically, in the second half of the 80s. All the pressures to make the big get bigger and to absorb the middle sized into the big are still there, as they were in 1980 and are indeed growing (and low margins are amongst them). But they are compounded now by what in 1980 could be expected but had scarcely arrived, i.e., the interest of large organisations in putting together large information/data bases comprising research of all kinds. This is already happening. And it is now being further complicated by the entry into the arena of the other service businesses - the advertising agencies, the consultants, the accountants - all very interested in adding a research arm to their array of client-oriented skills. Researchers picking their way through this interesting scenario would do well to have business acumen high on their list of personal qualifications.

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