Once upon a time, research was conducted with a wide berth of time for design, fieldwork and detailed analysis. While there is a time and place for long-term research projects, in-person ethnographies and ongoing iterations of brand trackers, many business decisions need sharper and quicker ways of gauging market trends, customer experience and brand loyalty issues. Brands also see value in gut checking slices of larger research projects with more contemporary, short surveys for verification of initial findings.
In short, market research tools are needed to close the gap between the brand and the consumer. The past decade has seen technology answer the call to not only shorten the distance between them and the consumer, but also has added access to a group of people who have never participated in market research. Mobile technology has enabled a proliferation of apps, services and software to reach more consumers with less friction, closer to where they live and more in alignment with how they live their lives.
When these first hit the scene, they tended to answer one of the two pressing demands to get research quicker or cheaper. Mobile-first was a buzzword for some time, leaning into the ubiquity of the smartphone as the answer for how to reach consumers quickly. Great strides were made to capture an audience that was either unreachable or unwilling to participate in more complicated asks from market surveys, focus groups or ongoing community panels that required in-person visits or clunky desktop connections.
The market research space is now awash with apps, survey tools, subscription services and DIY platforms all aimed at making market research more agile. Making sense of the tools and adding the ones you need to your toolkit can be a daunting task requiring what seems like an endless stream of demos, 30-day trials and free versions with upgrades demanded with each new add-on feature.
Brands need services to help them automate the market research process and remove as many bottlenecks as possible. Ideally, brand insights professionals want to put questions into field immediately, self-select the right sample, see responses populate in real-time and immediately access data upon completion. Ultimately, they are looking for an efficient process that uses market research budgets effectively - providing data for decisions while that data is still relevant.
In this quest for embracing not just technology in market research, but the right technology, we asked four seasoned insights professionals what they feel are the unspoken questions many peers have about market research tools and technology today. They also answered these questions in an effort to help you evaluate what market research technology means for your job and how choosing the right one can help you win the day.
A: In business today, relevancy often comes down to timeliness. Reducing the time from asking a question to gathering enough feedback to make an informed decision is key to staying relevant in any brand research, shopping insights or research and development department. Certainly, you can employ methodologies with longer fieldwork timelines, but staying relevant may become the larger hurdle once data is collected and moves into the analysis process. Almost every business vertical is experiencing disruption. Even before a global pandemic shifted everything we thought we knew about our markets, the rate of change in consumer opinion had been growing for some time. Using methodologies that go deep can be an incredible part of a strategy to gain a competitive advantage in business today, but smaller, more timely checks of the data will ensure your answers are relevant and provide the best intel for informed business decisions that matter.
A: Getting a research project into the field and efficiently to the right audience is a portion of the market research process that is ripe for automation. Eliminating the extensive manual labor of recruiting qualified candidates provides a boon of time which offers opportunity for more nuanced and specialized expertise on the other two sides of the research endeavor. Highly skilled brand managers understand that asking the right question is equally important to analyze outcomes.
A: The reality for most research professionals is that multiple departments are asking questions at a rapid pace that traditional research timelines simply cannot accommodate. Teams filter in and out of meetings, compressing the time everyone has for reviewing current research data for informed answers to the questions the C-Suite openly asks.
Instead of spending hours reviewing aging survey results, market research technology that allows you to make specific queries quickly and inexpensively can give you the ear of the C-Suite and enable understanding. Iterative technology which allows you to query the same respondents or even subsets of the same group can help you take deeper dives quickly.
A: Choosing a service that is truly DIY, meaning you can send your question into the field without awaiting third-party review, means you are in control of pinpointing effective questions that deliver pinpoint data. Reducing middle-men in the research process is key to shortening the time to first realized value for any project.
Choosing a service that offers this inexpensively and can fall within your budgetary discretion means your budget can provide a more dynamic impact for less money. Look for services that allow for dynamic selection of sample size. Some projects call for a large audience, while some answers can be gleaned from a very small sample. This effective use of your marketing budget to drill down quickly into larger issues that are either just emerging or persistent issues for the C-Suite can help you make a compelling case for your ability to show your expertise in welding research tools in alignment with brand concerns and goals.
The market research technology landscape is a noisy marketplace. Finding the right technology to help connect the dots between gathering insights data, marketing and operations can be a tough order. Brands need the right blend of market research technology to meet their specific goals. Each department and segment of a company needs different technology to maximize their efforts and ultimately employ smarter strategies.
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