Marketing research industry maintains foothold in 2012

Jul 09, 2012, 16:04 ET from American Marketing Association

Industry leadership stable; payrolls continue upward climb

CHICAGO, July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. marketing research firms showed modest growth in 2011 despite the still-sluggish economic recovery, reports the American Marketing Association (AMA). The industry — encompassing commercial marketing, advertising and public opinion research services — posted an overall revenue gain for the second consecutive year, according to AMA's Marketing News magazine in its annual Marketing Research Issue, published each summer.

At 5.1%, the 2011 increase in research revenue was higher than the 4.7% in 2010 — and both represented a marked improvement over the previous two years, which saw a drop in revenue. (After adjusting for inflation, the 2011 gain was 1.9%.*)

In fact, in U.S. marketing research firms fared better than the nation's overall economy last year.

"A good way to put this research industry growth in perspective is to compare it to the gross domestic product," says Jack Honomichl, founder of the industry newsletter Inside Research. "While research spend was up 5.1%, the GDP was up just 1.7%, with a net of 3.4%. So the research industry was significantly healthier than the economy in general — and that is encouraging."

Honomichl compiles an annual ranking of the top 50 research firms in the U.S., featured in the June 30 issue of Marketing News. The 2011 industry analysis was based on data from those top 50 firms, plus 154 smaller firms whose data was supplied by the Council of American Survey Research Organizations.

The 204 marketing research firms surveyed had an aggregate $9.2 billion in U.S.-based revenue. They also reported 38,305 full-time employees — an uptick of approximately 7.9% from 2010.

The first two top-ranking firms maintained their positions this year: The Nielsen Co., with just over $2.5 billion in U.S. research revenue in 2011, and Kantar, with $929.4 million. French conglomerate Ipsos — which bought British conglomerate Synovate — moved from seventh last year to third in this year's ranking, with $624.3 million in revenue.

A byproduct of the Honomichl Top 50 ranking is that it produces a profile of the firms' executives. For example, of the 50 leaders, 36* have a graduate degree, 17 of which are MBAs. The male-to-female ratio is 43-7, and ages range from 37 to 71, with an average age of 53. Only three of this year's Top 50 leaders were new to their jobs, so industry leadership is stable.

Marketing News has featured the annual Honomichl ranking of U.S. marketing research firms for nearly 40 years. Also featured is a report on the top 25 international research firms. Watch for that global report in the Aug. 30, 2012 issue of Marketing News.

For more information and to view the Honomichl Reports — including profiles of each firm — please visit For more information on the American Marketing Association, please visit

* Note: These numbers have been updated since the Honomichl Top 50 Report was printed.

About the Honomichl Top 50 Report
The Honomichl Top 50 business report, produced by Jack Honomichl and Larry Gold, covers the top players in the U.S. marketing research industry. Each company profile reviews the organization's leadership, revenues and continuing and new business interests. A chart detailing the top 50 organizations is also included for easy reference.

About the American Marketing Association
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the largest marketing association in North America with a global network of over 30,000 members. It is a professional association for individuals involved in the practice, teaching and study of marketing worldwide. As the leading organization for marketers,  AMA is the trusted go-to resource for marketers and academics. AMA is counted on as the most credible marketing resource where  members can stay relevant with knowledge, training and tools to enhance lifelong learning and obtain valuable information and connections. For more information on the American Marketing Association, please visit

Mariam Adeyemo
American Marketing Association
312-542-9083 |

SOURCE American Marketing Association