How Technology Has Changed Market Research

The methods in market research used to be done without the aid of applications and electronic hardware. Surveys were taken by phone, mail or face to face. Interviews, focus groups and observations were done personally and the data gathered were presented in charts, graphs and reports. The creation of the personal computer, smartphones and tablets has transformed the way market research is being done.

Programmers and computer gurus have developed applications that cut time and expand reach to global proportions. Consumers, too, are using technology to find information from the comforts of home or office and making decisions based on what they find in social media, internet communities and forums.

The major advantages that technology has contributed to marketing research are the ease and speed at which data is collected, wider reach of sample respondents, cheaper cost of doing online interviews and surveys, filtering of relevant information from voluminous databases and the facility of data interpretation.

Data Collection

A type of software that is very useful is the interview application. It reaches out to respondents for a one-on-one or focus group interaction. The responses help researchers acquire a better perception of consumers’ behaviors, needs and desires, shopping patterns, decision influences and response to new products or ideas. The questions or outline are determined based on the purpose of the research, and may be a collaboration between the client and the researchers.

Sophisticated interview apps operate like chat conversations and are able to provide follow up questions based on a respondent’s reply, much like a human moderator. Because companies can penetrate global markets through the internet, interview software may come in several languages.

Data collection through online methods has many benefits, such as:

- the power to reach consumers from any domestic and international location
- the extent by which respondents are sourced due to prevalence of use of mobile devices
- the instant feedback from respondents
- the less expenses incurred from cheaper production cost, less travel and minimal use of incentives to lure respondents

Data Analysis

Another digital innovation used in market research is data analysis tools. These are programs that examine large amounts of data and determine patterns and connections that exist between variables which may have significant impacts on business decisions.

Data analyses include data organization and reduction, sifting among massive databases to arrive at valid and powerful information, and then making intelligent interpretations out of them. By dissecting consumer linguistics, data analytic tools are able to pick out trends, habits and influencing factors that help explain behavioral inclinations.

Data mining is one application in data analytic tools that concentrates on knowledge discovery, analyzing data from different perspectives to come up with informed predictive behavioral patterns gleaned from relational information.

The formulation of business strategies depend in large part on market research findings. To be effective, the information obtained from such researches must be current and relevant. Depending on the purpose of the specific market study, the appropriate statistical data analysis techniques are applied.

Technology and the way it has changed market research will continue. Trends show that social media and user-generated feedback are providing valuable information on consumers’ buying habits, and their wants and needs.

Businesses and market research firms who recognize the importance of being able to adapt to the constantly evolving processes have better chances of remaining competitive and increasing sales and market share.

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Technology-Driven Job Search Strategies Have Left Many Older Workers Behind

There has been a major transformation during the last decade or so in the way people look for employment opportunities. Hardcopy resumes and cover letters, newspaper ads, and face-to-face interviews have gradually given way to LinkedIn and Facebook profiles and personal websites, electronically transmitted career materials, job boards and web searches, and Skype interviews.

While technology advances have certainly expanded the scope of opportunities for people to take advantage of in finding great jobs, the benefits have not been equal among all job seekers. Research conducted in recent years has shown that, in general, older workers have not kept pace with their younger counterparts in the use of technology to design and execute job search strategies.

This is troubling since there is plenty of evidence that older workers face greater challenges in finding worthwhile employment. Data from the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Displaced Workers Survey show that people aged 50 and over took 5.8 weeks longer to find employment than those aged 30-49 and 10 weeks longer than those aged 20-29.

Data from the 2015 BLS Current Population Survey found similar results; 44.6% of employed workers aged 55 and older lacked employment after 27 weeks compared to 22.2% for people under 25 years of age and 36% for people aged 25-54.

Can Older Workers Learn to Use Technology-driven Job Search Tools?

Older workers are often stereotyped in ways that adversely affect their ability to find worthwhile employment. These stereotypes include:

Lack of motivation,
Less willing to participate in technology training and use,
More resistant to change,
Less trusting of superiors and co-workers,
Less healthy, and
More vulnerable to work-family imbalances.

Many of these stereotypes do not necessarily pan out upon a closer examination of older worker behavior patterns in relation to employment. In regard to technology, there is evidence that older workers are willing to seek out and use technology tools, but that many face limitations and issues that need to be addressed. Some of these include:

Poor eyesight and hearing that impede training efforts,
Memory, recall, and motor skill problems,
Lack of perspective on technology usage, as opposed to younger workers who grew up with technology in their lives, and
Less accepting of “learning for the sake of learning” and requiring a direct tie between technology training/use and job search/employment success.

It is clear that technology is a critical component to any successful job search campaign and assuming that older workers cannot or will not take advantage of technology tools does a disservice to this group of people. Training programs that take into account the learning limitations of older workers are becoming more common and should be expanded. In addition, training needs to focus on skills clearly identified with improved employability.

Steven Watson has a wealth of experience as a writer, researcher, and manager within both the private and public sectors. In addition, he has served as a hiring official for several organizations, and has been a certified professional resume writer since 2004.

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Managing The Impact Of Technology On Our Lives And Families

If you and I intend to have wholesome, satisfying family relationships, we’ll have to manage the impact of the technological explosion on our lives. Failure to limit these influences on our lives accounts for a part of the discouraging family statistics of our day.

We live in an unprecedented period of world history; technology is burgeoning like bacteria. This exponential expansion of technology has stretched the potential for good and for evil in equal proportion.

Most human inventions are neither good nor bad in themselves. Consider the printing press. Gutenberg invented his press with the vision of mass-producing the Bible. To be sure, printing technology has wonderfully aided the spread of all kinds of truth in our world. This same technology, however, has been used for far less noble, even ignoble, purposes.

All of this new technology makes possible many new options, and wisdom draws us to make good decisions about them. As our human technology expands, so grows our moral responsibility for its use. All morality springs from this self-evident truth: the mere fact that a given thing can be done does not mean it should be done. In other words, ability and advisability are not necessarily one and the same. Scripture assures us that, even though permissible, an act many not be beneficial. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Technology enables us to do many things that are not wise to do. It offers us 24-7 entertainment and communication options. Embracing these options without limits, however, is most unwise. At best, we would find ourselves wasting valuable time that could have been better invested elsewhere. At worst, we can subject ourselves to foul mental influences that adversely affect our thought processes.

We have a choice. To appropriately exercise that choice is the moral imperative of the day. We must master the technology and not let it distract or destroy us. Our task is much greater than merely avoiding the blatantly bad stuff. To live in a reasonably wholesome balance in the 21st Century, we’ll have to make some hard decisions to keep even that which is good from displacing the best.

Sir, if you want a quality relationship with God, your spouse, parents, children, siblings, and friends, you cannot afford to watch all the sports available on the networks. Dear lady, neither can you watch all the interesting documentaries, latest movies, popular sit-coms, music specials, and even Christian programs, if you intend to build and maintain quality relationships.

I have discovered that to have a good life with my wife, I have to spend more time with her than I do with Facebook friends. If I want to know what my kids think, I have to spend more time listening to them than I do with Rush, Oprah and Dr. Phil.

The creators of our technology actually provide us help – if we will use it. The cell phone can be turned off or silenced. The answering machine can be turned on. Computers and televisions have on/off switches, so we can appropriately put them in the “off” position.

Still, we have to exercise the wisdom to do the right turning. How much time we spend on the phone, on the computer, watching T.V., and playing video games, is a critical ethical choice. We can’t make unwise decisions here and get the desired outcome for ourselves and our families.

Financial experts have long advised a budget. That is to decide in advance how we will spend our money rather than look back and try to figure out where it went. A financial budget places boundaries on spending our limited income. To create a wholesome financial plan (a budget) and discipline ourselves to live according to it can produce freedom. Perhaps this is a new thought to you: Maybe it is time to realize our need to budget our very limited time, to place reasonable boundaries on how much of our precious time we will spend here and there. Have you ever actually decided how much time you would watch T.V., be online, on your cell phone, or play video games? Have you ever budgeted time for God, your spouse, your children, or other important people in your life? Isn’t it time that you better manage your time? Remember, making the plan is the easy part; working the plan is the difficult part. Never forget that working a good plan beats any other option.

Finally, please read with an open heart the following prayer by the Apostle Paul: “[I pray] that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ… ” (Philippians 1:9,10 emphasis mine). Now, would you pray that meaty prayer for yourself – regularly?

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