Marketing is more competitive than ever before. Period.
You don’t need any citation or reference to back this statement. Isn’t it? It’s like a “dog eats dog world” now when not hundreds but thousands of enterprises are fighting from the exact same customer base. This is why it is so vital to keep some actionable insights ready to gain that edge.
Traditionally, businesses used an older market research approach primarily to find where the customer is. Of course, that’s good initially. But, at the same time, it’s not effective in today’s changing digital landscapes. This is where modern market research strategies help businesses effectively guide their decisions. But how? Let’s find out now!
Technology is Changing The Way we do Research
The world has gone through some significant transformations in the last two decades. Fortunately, it’s enabling the common people and businesses to achieve their day-to-day tasks much more efficiently. In the case of companies, the new technological trends in market research are helping businesses to collect meaningful data.
For instance, the shift to online surveys, smartphones, social media, big data, to AI, everything is allowing businesses to make faster, informed decisions without losing their sole purpose- to make customers at the heart of everything they do.
But what changed? Let’s find out!
- Access to multiple data sources: The best part of new technology trends is that researchers can collect data from different resources. And they don’t have to limit themselves to emotional data anymore. Thankfully, new market research technologies allow them to collect passive, behavioral, and attitudinal data. Not only that, but it’s also helping companies to understand their customers better. Thus, providing the managers and CIOs with a holistic view of the person or the situation.
- Increased reach (even globally): The technology is reducing the gap between locations. One can get access to new participants, even globally. So, it’s opening the possibility of a plethora of choices. This means that businesses can reach even hard-to-reach demographics and implement suitable methods for every study.
- Improved data collection: Since there are multiple methodologies available in the market now, respondents can give their detailed feedback in a much more streamlined way. This agile approach allows marketers and business owners to get access to in-depth insights. In other words, qualitative market research is gaining importance in this technological era. So, it gives the brands an edge since they know their customers’ thoughts and emotions.
Now let’s talk about the list of methods that you can use depending on what fits your criteria.
Market Research Methods – Decoding The Types
No matter what technology you use, software, web application, emails, or google forms, you will majorly use the following methods to collect valuable data.
Focus groups: This is a simple concept but is often misunderstood. You have to get many respondents into a room (online/offline), record them, ask them questions. It can be views on new product ideas, and for others, it can be views on a political candidate. From this discussion, the organizer puts together some insights and uses them to make an informed decision.
Remember, the strength of your focus group must be natural conversation and discussion. In comparison to surveys, where you have a set of questions, here you can go off on tangents. The nature of the debate will hold importance to get meaningful data.
Surveys: Here, you can give the respondents a set of questions via phone, email, or an online form. They can either be close-ended or open-ended. They are pretty versatile depending on what you wish to achieve out of this survey. So, the result depends entirely on how you frame your questionnaire.
You can create questions using a tool. It will do all the heavy lifting for you. That way, you can utilize your time in doing more important tasks.
Social media listening: The use of social media is more than just personal conversations. It is like a digital extension of everyone. People post their opinions, thoughts on different topics. The content is so much that it has become like a treasure for market research. There is plenty of data available, still untapped.
So, using social media listening tools can help you track brand mentions, what consumers want and what’s lacking. All you have to do is dwell on these insights and adapt your product accordingly for better results.
Interviews: In this, the person handling the service or product speaks directly to the consumer. It is a more personal way to communicate and clarify the concerned subject. So, it’s a good idea to use open-ended questions. It is a great way to investigate a matter deeply.
Competitive analysis: Understanding what your customer wants isn’t enough nowadays. You need to research your competitors, brand, products, and services to find what you are doing right and what needs improvement.
It could be from marketing aspects like content, SEO structure, PR, or social media presence. Or it could be from a product aspect such as offerings, price structure, and so on. SWOT analysis allows businesses to turn their weaknesses into strengths for better outcomes.
Sales data analysis: This data is like a puzzle piece that lets companies extract a complete picture. This is important since it is directly related to results. And if you pair it with other market research data, it gives you a better understanding of your customers, their buying habits, and their evolution over time.
Modern Market Research Methods: Why Are They Better?
Before we comment anything about market research strategies, let’s get one thing clear. There is no one size fits all solution for finding the right tool, application, or process for market research. This is why you need to learn about the different tools available to deliver the best results and ROI.
In fact, experts stress that you need to integrate market research in a way that allows you to make informed decisions. For instance, you need to know how to collate data from different sources like market research software, smart boards, online communities, social media platforms, vox pops, etc.
While one can spend hours explaining why modern solutions are better, for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on the most important reasons.
They help align your strategies according to changing customer behavior: With the rapidly evolving technology, consumer behavior is changing. So, to keep up with these changes, brands need to adapt to meet the needs of their consumers. Luckily, modern market research strategies help you identify this shift, thus enabling you to make the adjustments accordingly.
They help you understand your competitors: If you think you can prosper by understanding your customers alone, you’re entirely mistaken. You need to keep track of your competitors as well.
Remember, your customers have tons of options to choose from. So, you need to have a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. Thus, allowing you to pitch your customers in the right manner to garner the best attention.
They help you be more accurate about your decisions: Remember, if you don’t have any insights, it would seem like “you’re flying blindly.” You need to have a clear understanding of your audience, the current market needs. And modern market research strategies allow you to gather data and help you see the complete picture.
The need for proper market research is vital for making tough business decisions. Based on that data, you can reach more customers and improve your ROI. Not only that, it will help you understand:
- Where should you spend your money?
- Is there a need for your service or product?
- Should you improve your product or discontinue?
- How much price should you offer your services?
In short, modern marketing strategies will provide you with solid facts. Thus, enabling you to make better business decisions.
The author is an IT expert by profession and a writer by passion. While he works as the CTO with a reputed IT services company, he loves pursuing his writing skills as well.