Market research has been an important component of business since the first business defined the first target customer. Over the years, the approaches have evolved, but at its core, market research has always been about identifying market opportunities and customer preferences. Nowadays this has become more of a challenge for companies as the speed of business has accelerated.
Hundreds of thousands of new offerings, campaigns, apps, services, and products come to the market every day. Opportunities are ever changing. Companies that still rely on traditional focus groups, market research labs, or simple surveys find it difficult to collect rich, accurate, actionable intelligence that they can apply in real time. But market research is evolving too.
Here are five trends that will transform market research in 2015 and beyond.
1. On-demand market research will increasingly have a mobile-first focus. Market research methods are catching up with toady's mobile-enabled audiences. Today analytics and usage data is being used to profile consumer behaviors. More proactive mobile methods are being leveraged to conduct "in the wild" surveys, using geo-fencing and consumer retail activities. This trend of leveraging the devices customers keep in their pockets as next-generation measurement instruments will continue to grow.
2.Ecommerce companies will segment users' experience across multiple screens. While some businesses are still struggling to move beyond desktop / web-oriented strategies, savvy ecommerce teams already recognize that today's customers interact with multiple screens - smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and desktops - and have different expectations and preferences that they bring to each screen. Ecommerce companies that recognize this can conduct real-time market research across screens and gain insight into how people want to interact with each device.
3.Marketers will conduct surveys without survey questions. With mobile-first technologies like micro expression recognition, marketers can gain incredible new insights into customer behavior and preferences without using traditional survey questions. They can engage with participants at scale, enabling consumers to interact with products, watch ads or view collateral, and analysts can then identify patterns in responses to determine what's effective - and what users find frustrating or confusing. This approach goes beyond defining what consumers are doing to identifying the all-important reason why they take certain actions.
4.Market research will be delivered via an always-on dashboard rather than a report. Many marketers are already receiving their research and analytics via a single dashboard that integrates multiple data feeds rather than in the form of quarterly reports. Marketers are looking at integrated data from multiple sources to gain insight and context beyond a single metric. Because this approach is so much more immediate and effective, more marketers and product development teams will take advantage of new platforms and technologies that deliver information in this format in 2015 and beyond.
5.Market research becomes a tactical tool, not just a strategy planning asset. With traditional market research methods, there is a lengthy data collection phase as well as analysis and reporting processes that make the findings suitable only for strategic planning. With real-time, qualitative data now available 24/7/365 in an integrated dashboard, market research is becoming a tactical tool that enables sound operational decision-making in real time. This enables product developers to change strategies on the fly in response to customer feedback and allows ecommerce leaders to provide customers with an optimal experience across all screen types to drive more sales.
Businesses have evolved rapidly over the past few decades to accommodate the new opportunities and challenges of the Information Age. Market research is undergoing an evolution of its own, and new platforms and technologies are allowing marketers to reinvent the traditional approach and drive improvements in products, services, online and mobile experiences as well as marketing campaigns. With more data streams, better data integration and faster analytics, modern market research is a tactical weapon rather than just a strategic asset; it now moves at warp speed instead of at a Pony Express pace.
With tools like remote usability research, behavior recognition, live surveys and user experience analytics, this is a new Golden Age in market research - and it presents an incredible opportunity for businesses that integrate these tools into their operations. As data analytics grew in popularity, companies were able to more quickly and accurately identify what was happening on the ground with customers. In 2015 and beyond, new market research solutions are telling them why customers are responding as they do.That's a game-changer.