By Isha Gupta |
February 6, 2019
When was the last time you filled out a survey using a pen and paper? If you did, were you even giving it some serious thought? In other words, did you really believe that the information you are scribbling in there is going to make a difference in the service or products you hope to receive next time?
Market research has evolved tremendously over the past decade. Consumers’ responses are affected by the means of collecting and analyzing information. Do you feel sure that anything you write on paper for an open-ended “how can we improve” kind of question will get thrown away in a dustbin?
The majority of changes in the way businesses seek out customer reactions and feedback have been driven by technological advances. These have touched all three spheres of market research – data collection, data visualization and insight generation. Let’s look at these one at a time.
There has been a reduction in the dependency on face-to-face interviews and telephonic data collection over the past decade, with a simultaneous and steep increase in digital data collection. This has been driven by the increased penetration of mobile phones and other smart devices (watches, Fitbits, Scales, TVs, etc.), and has provided researchers with the opportunity to collect data in more innovative and creative ways. Online surveys are administered via mobile devices, PCs etc., web tracking technology, chatbots, eye-tracking, social media monitoring and listening – the sources are many and provide a holistic understanding of customers’ life cycles through active and passive responses. Many customer-focused organizations that are keen on learning about their customers exploit gamification through a combination of these channels to keep respondents engaged and extract the best possible information. This is done through participant challenges, virtual currency, progress and slider bars in the surveys, and many other ways that ensure respondent engagement.
Possibly the biggest boom in data generation has been via social media. If a brand really wants to know how its customers feel about it, it needs to be “socially-conscious”, i.e. listen to social media chatter in real-time. A word of appreciation on social media vs. a complaint gone unanswered can both have mammoth effects on the business. Customers have made Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. as their preferred modes of communication with your brand, and, if you aren’t listening, you’re losing out. Customer sentiment is something that builds up in real-time and organizations need to have the ability to understand where it’s coming from, how it happened, why it happened and what to do with it. This has led to a shift in focus from data to the “human” element in research. Prior to this, market researchers used to focus on the product or service being researched. This has changed, and they now want to focus on the needs of everyone answering the question.
Market researchers are now using sophisticated tools and technology that analyze data flowing in from multiple sources in real time. Gone are the days when analysts had to spend hours going through responses, evaluating open-ended questions to make sense of the data gathered and come up with what was best for the brand. Have you video recorded your interview? Facial recognition can decode your respondents’ emotions. Wondering what to do with the stream of social media comments? Text analytics can pick out essential inputs and create charts and graphs to depict respondents’ sentiments in microseconds. Record your phone interviews using voice analytics rather than taking notes. This makes research fast and of course, cost effective.
This is the most interesting part. A very important shift in market research technique adopted by the world’s most customer-centric organizations is increased dependence on behavioral analytics to understand what matters to their customers. Typical market research was highly focused on historical data (cognitive analytics) to try and interpret how customer choice patterns will change in the future. This approach is flawed. To be able to prepare your business for the future, and to out-innovate your competitors, you need to understand how and why your customers make purchase decisions through their customer journey, and how that is likely to change in the future. A combination of behavioral and cognitive analytics that looks at past and future-looking data helps you identify evolving unmet customer needs and provides you with valuable and actionable insights.
How can OSG help?
OSG’s market research tools are armed with the best methodologies that have shown 35% – 52%* improvement over other statistical methods used to understand consumer choice. ASEMAPTM, our bespoke behavioral analytics engine, has been employed by Fortune 500 clients across the globe to arrive at the truest measure of what drives decision making for their target segments, making their market research studies more effective and accurate.
Contact us to learn more about ASEMAP and how OSG can help you fuel growth.
Source: * ODED NETZER and V. SRINIVASAN – Extract from the Journal of Marketing Research Vol. XLVIII (February 2011), 140 – 156