The digital revolution has changed the way do almost everything. It has simplified a lot of processes and made the world a much smaller and more accessible place. Now, at the touch of a button you can reach out to the rest of the world. One of the industries that has seen a tremendous amount of change due to advances in technology is the market research industry. Formally reliant on surveys and focus groups, the market research industry has access to not only many new research sources but also to a much wider audience.
Here are some of the ways in which the digital age has affected market research.
Social media is an excellent way to access a huge number of people, quickly. It allows you to communicate with consumers in real time, and instead of having to wait days or even weeks to get an appropriate number of responses, you can have hundreds of responses within the hour and through the functionality ‘Insights’ we can collect data from respondents beyond their actual answers.
An online survey is the market researcher’s best friend. Instead of having to send out hundreds of paper surveys, wait for them to reach their destination, hope someone will fill them out and then send them back, you can use one of the many online survey tools to email the survey out to your consumers or post it on social media and have responses almost instantaneously. An excellent way to entice people to fill out your survey is to include an incentive, such as going in the draw to win a prize of some sort if they fill out your survey. There are people who are willing to spend a few minutes of their time filling out a survey if there is a chance if they feel it is relevant and they could get something out of it. At Outsource to Us we can create bespoke surveys to send out to existing or potential customers. We use the online marketing system – Cvent, which has a comprehensive range of reporting tools allowing you to measure your results in real time and collate the data at the end of your survey to ensure that you get the best ROI.
Online focus groups:
Traditional focus groups meant putting a specific group of consumers into a room and asking them questions about products or watching them try out new products and gaining information from them about their experience. With the emergence of technology however focus groups can now be conducted online, via discussion groups, online communities or using video chats. This means that participants don’t even have to leave their homes to take part in a focus group, making it an easier and therefore more appealing idea to offer up their opinions on a product/service. The use of video chat in particular has been highly beneficial. Consumers can be sent a potential new product to try in their home and you can watch them experience the product as they try it. This also gives researchers more information about the participants, for example it gives them insight into the participants’ home, and where certain products feature within their home.
The use of technology in the market place means that consumers have a place where they can instantly provide feedback on a product or service at any given time. This means market researchers have to be vigilant in watching the behaviour of their consumers. If a marketing campaign is going to be giant flop you are going to know quite quickly, because most consumers don’t hesitate in giving their opinion when they don’t like something. Watching consumer behaviour online “social listening” is also an excellent way to learn more about consumers, such as their habits and what they do and don’t like, allowing your business to respond and react quickly to changes in market attitude towards your product or brand.
One thing to be wary of when using online market research tools is how useful the information you receive will be. You need to ensure the information your research derives is qualitative, has meaning to what you are researching and is useful. It needs to be relevant and clear, which can sometimes be a problem when using social media or other forms of online research.
Traditional forms of marketing research are still highly useful and have their place in the market research industry. Here at Outsource to Us we believe in creating a research plan that uses both traditional and digital research tools to ensure the data you receive is accurate, timely and useful in informing your future marketing and business decisions.
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Author: Lou Browne
Lou Browne has a long career history in multi-platform marketing B2C and B2B product and brand development having worked in industries as varied as wine and spirits, beauty and scuba diving. As well as a passion for social media, website design, events, marketing planning and strategy, she prides herself on her skills in relationship building.