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The Future of Market Research

[ 0 ] Posted by on December 15, 2017

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Market research. What a boring phrase. Yet the reality is that market research is a crucial component of any successful business plan, and in order to develop and then implement a successful marketing strategy, you need to know as much as you can, about as many people as you can. However, the current methods of market research are failing to keep up with the developments in the digital world. There are market research analysts that assert that current methods employed are still too sluggish, expensive, and a poor reflection of consumer habits. A change needs to be made in the way that large scale market research is carried out; but how exactly can companies move forward in this area?

The world is shrinking. Technology’s amorous relationship with globalisation has completely changed the way in which information is sent/displayed/communicated. Anyone on social media can create a post, write a status or tweet, or upload an image or video, and that information could be accessed and responded to by someone living in another continent; all in mere seconds. Obviously businesses very quickly saw the potential to exploit this marketing platform and have acted accordingly; utilising social media mediums is the next step in digital marketing. But how can the skills involved in capitalising upon this trend be transferred to aid market research?

As briefly discussed above, the growth of social media undoubtedly heralds a new platform for market research and a move away from the traditional methods of collecting and collating market research. The use of social networks – and in particular sites such as Twitter, Google +, and Facebook – provides insights into the likes and dislikes of your target audience, current market trends, improvements your business could make, and the ability to communicate directly and instantly with your consumers.

However, in terms of market research, social media has its limitations too. The reliability of your collected data has to be called into question, as users can very easily create fake profiles and give false answers or feedback as they know they can remain anonymous (the keyboard warrior or “trolling” effect). Relying solely on social media for market research can also alienate a large portion of your consumer base, as different demographics use the internet in very different ways (and amounts). Yet despite these drawbacks, social media certainly offers companies the ability to track their consumer habits in real-time; that is, as a story or product breaks/goes live, businesses can analyse the immediate response to such a scenario.

Aside from social media, one of the most promising tools for future market research comes via the use of mobile devices (and not just in accessing social media on your phone!). Granted, this is already a prominent method used for research; however, companies are yet to discover the true extent of using a mobile platform for market research and capitalise on this accordingly.

6/7 of the world’s population owns a mobile phone (be it an older feature phone or a modern smartphone), and thus the value and potential in targeting such a platform for large scale market research is phenomenal. Years before the internet came into widespread use, primary market research was conducted by posting forms and surveys to various respondents and waiting patiently for the return of said documents. The internet then obviously transformed this process and allowed for surveys to be carried out online, which saved time for both the consumer and the business wanting the feedback. Now, the explosion of smartphones and tablet computers has created a demand for online mobile surveys, and the race is on to fill this void as quickly and efficiently as possible. The trouble is, mobile surveys have to be designed in a certain way and, even more importantly, have to be distributed in a certain way. It’s no use creating a survey and sending it to thousands of random mobile phone numbers – how many of these will have a smartphone and how many will be bothered to reply?

Fortunately, there are companies that have taken the time to think about how this problem can be overcome. Decision Fuel have taken the online market research process to the next level; by utilising mobile technology, they have created a platform that allows companies to create focused, industry specific online surveys within just minutes, and then distribute that survey to selected respondents all over the world – demographic specific to your industry/company needs – via their mobile devices. Respondents are notified they have a survey waiting for them, and can answer it on the go, in a simple, user-friendly format, with content and questions relevant to their age/gender/lifestyle etc. Results can be generated in less than 24 hours, and can even be checked in real time, so survey creators can immediately receive valuable, informative, genuine data. Successful market surveys ask the right people the right questions in the right format, and Decision Fuel have perfected this process.

Market research will continue to be a vitally important aspect of a company’s business plan, and with competition to gain peoples attention online now so fiercely contested, the methods of collecting, analysing, and using market research will have to adapt in order to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing world.

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About Nathan Gilderson:

I’m new to the SEO game, but completing levels fast. Coming to the end of my internship with Go Up – London’s leading SEO and Digital Marketing Agency – but excited to see what the future holds!

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