By Brooke Patton
When it comes to market research, and applying agile methodology to it, there are several key activities to leverage.
Let’s face it; agile is nothing new. Today, almost every industry outside of software development has worked toward agilifying their organization in some way or another. But when it comes to market research, and applying agile methodology to it, things can be a bit more challenging.
One of the wonderful things about traditional research methods is that they are tried-and-true. As a result, it can be hard to change course towards agile methods. However, more agile methods of market research can be highly beneficial when it comes to expedited timelines and course corrections—and they’re usually a very cost-effective solution.
So how do you make market research more agile? Through the adoption of new technology and processes, with the use of human expertise to back it up. More specifically, streamlined processes, automated technology, and expert panel providers are just a few things that make agile market research possible.
Agilifying research methods first and foremost requires focused objectives and iterative actions to streamline processes. In other words, if you’re trying to accomplish too many objectives at once, an agile methodology won’t work. The point is to consolidate research steps into more bite-size chunks that allow insights to build upon each other.
With this approach, and by leveraging research expertise, creating streamlined processes is therefore easy. Years of experience and a strong history of knowing what works and doesn’t work when it comes to both quantitative and qualitative research methods means we have the ability to craft questionnaires or discussion guides in less time. Depending on objectives, oftentimes templated versions of a study can be used and customized slightly. For example, developing a specific set of metrics that map back to key objectives means you don’t have to spend time writing a new questionnaire for a project each time, but can pull from a question bank.
While reporting is one area that should get extra time in the research process, there are still ways to streamline it too. For instance, building a report template with a variety of data visualizations that only require updating, removes the task of creating them all from scratch each time. This may require a bit of upfront work, but once it’s done it makes life much easier and allows the researcher to focus on what’s most important—insights.
Beyond systemized processes, with the increase in automation capabilities across industries, agile market research can be taken to the next level. The most relevant means of automation for market research is already taking place when it comes to data collection and analysis. Using more technologically advanced solutions for qualitative analysis in the form of natural language processing is just one way the market research industry has already adopted automated practices. As far as quantitative insights go, incorporating real-time data analysis and visualization helps to build stories faster and allows researchers to glean insights early on and improve the efficiency of reporting.
Using streamlined processes and incorporating automated technology can only go so far in making market research more agile. Why? Because participants still need to be recruited and used to gather data. So, a final component to agile market research are panel providers. Choosing expert panel providers that are flexible and fast, even when it comes to targeting niche audiences, are essential components to agile methods.
Agile market research will only continue to innovate to become more agile. Data integration capabilities—such as combining survey data with big data—is one such area that is already being applied to the future of agile market research to increase not only the speed of insights, but also the level of depth. And as technology evolves, so too will market research and agile approaches.
By Brooke Patton, Gut Check