The Insights Industry: Towards a Performativity Turn in Market Research

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


While market research has been the cornerstone of the intelligence ecosystem, the emergence of ‘insights’ vendors is re-shaping the market. Adjacent practices, ranging from competitive intelligence, social listening and data science, could relegate market research to legacy status in firms. This investigation explores how expert market researchers respond to the commoditisation of market research techniques and their diminishing access to the client’s organisation to address this issue. The findings show that market researchers are adapting – effectively reinventing themselves as ‘insights’ professionals – through the following four initiatives: (1) offering solution services, (2) creating architectures that integrate organic and designed data, (3) making heroes in the client’s organisation and (4) forging performative relationships based on strategic guidance. These initiatives shift market research from ostensive (descriptive or declarative) to performative (effectual or actionable). Theoretically, the article conceptualises the changes in the market research industry through the performativity lens.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Market Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)169-186
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • insights
  • performativity
  • market research
  • customer insights
  • actionable knowledge


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