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.
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
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.