The Future of Market Research
The conference focused heavily on what the future of market research will look like. Many acknowledged the growth in the volume of data available to researchers. What does that mean for researchers?
It means remaining flexible and open to learning how other data sources can help us to explain choices in behaviors or preferences. We constantly hear the words, “big data,” and learning how we can integrate other forms of data to add to our findings will only strengthen our value to our clients. At LEWIS, we specifically spend a lot of time looking a media measurement data and evaluating potential partnerships to help provide the best insights for our research and PR clients. Eventually, we are likely moving into a data-driven world where we won’t need to ask people about their preferences, we will know what people like and do not like. Until then, it is in a researcher’s best interest to help clients understand the information they have access to and to provide meaning to the numbers.
An example of non-traditional research data that we use is media data. We can measure the share of voice a brand is receiving compared to their competitors. This data can show the moments in time where the brand received higher levels of media coverage over a select period of time. Over time, we can pair this data with brand measurement data to see if the company is improving perceptions among key audiences and over their competitors.
Humanizing the process of research was top of mind for many. As researchers, we love what we do, but sometimes it is easy to forget or lose sight of the fact that we are still talking to people. The process is not always familiar to those agreeing to participate in the research. They may take a few minutes to understand what we are asking, and it is our duty to make the process go as smoothly as possible. If we are conducting qualitative research in person or on the phone, that may mean making a lighthearted joke to break the ice or allowing the person to take their time to answer. There are no right or wrong answers in research, but our participants may sometimes feel frustrated or like they do not know the answer. Reassure them along the way and remind them that we want to hear what they have to say. If it is an online survey, it means coming up with different ways to ensure respondents’ do not get fatigued by grid questions or overly long surveys. It may mean having to explain what may seem obvious to you or your client, but if we remove any ambiguity, then the respondents will feel more confident and encouraged to participate.
- Speak in the language your respondents are most familiar with and avoid jargon where possible. Avoid using technical terms or words that are unfamiliar to the general population.
- Add additional instructions before any exercise or give an example if you need to get people talking.
- Encourage the respondents during the focus group or in-depth interview and remind them that you appreciate their time.
- Avoid asking the same types of questions in a survey over and over again. We discussed survey and research design in more detail on our podcast.
We need to know how we are measuring the success of our work. Research is process oriented, but what does success look like to our clients? Are the findings we are providing actionable? Sometimes everything moves so quickly, and we forget to look at the bigger picture. It is important to know what KPIs we are trying to change or how our research helps support a client’s corporate strategy. Take the time at the start of the project to define what success looks by asking some of the following questions.
A few questions we like to ask before we begin a project:
- What does success look like to you on this project?
- What is your dream headline or news story for your company?
- What brand metrics are you looking to improve?
- How do you measure…?
The conference covered so much more, but these are some high-level takeaways that I felt were worth sharing. Interested in our market research services? Have questions? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!