Chevrolet builds 4G LTE Wi-Fi in their cars and trucks. GE lets you extend the dryer cycle from your couch and preheat your oven from the grocery store. Timex Ironman One GPS+ lets your friends track your workout or race.
What do all of these have in common? They’re devices (car, oven, your watch) that are part of the M2M/IoT/Wearable revolution that will create 25 to 50+ billion connected devices by 2020.
More importantly, this revolution – along with continued growth in social media and internet engagement – will result in petabytes of data (aka BIG DATA!) being sent, and then analysed, to provide users with the capabilities and experience they demand, while companies gain deep usage data to guide their business decisions.
Market researchers feel challenged to find their place and value-add in this massive sea of data. So, are market researchers out of a job? Not necessarily. But it does mean the end of market research as we have known it for decades and a requirement to evolve.
Market Researchers versus Software
CRM, social media/web analytics and other types of software are amazing at supporting business intelligence needs. Software excels at identifying when, where, how much, and even sometimes who. But can it explain how people feel along the customer journey, how they arrive at their purchase decisions, why they buy what they do and which new/different products and services they would be likely to purchase?
The short answer is: not so well. Answering these questions takes human empathy, human understanding and an ability to connect illogical dots because, well, humans are not always logical!
Yet the answers to these questions are crucial for businesses since they can provide competitive advantages, namely:
- How to create emotional appeal and stickiness along the customer journey.
- How to optimise positioning around attributes which influence purchase decisions.
- Identifying underlying needs to optimise new offering development and positioning.
Sure, software lets you predict what will probably happen based upon the past. But market research can show companies how to change the game!
Market Researchers: Masters of How & Why
The good news is that market researchers are well positioned for this evolution. Many of the tools we have used and honed to be efficient and effective are still valid. These include surveys, in-depth interviews, customer and competitive intelligence, ethnography, segmentation research and other research techniques.
Even better, technology is advancing and expanding the toolbox that market researchers can now apply in their quest to become Masters of How & Why. At the upcoming IIeX event in Amsterdam from February 18-19, 2015, attendees can experience and embrace innovative research tools including:
- Nonconscious Measurement Scanners – AlbinoMosquito, a brand new player in the space, will debut their Scanners project— a platform that allows you to take insights from dreams and the subconscious, while creating tailored content from those insights.
- Random Intercept Survey Respondents – Looking for a different way to get randomised gen pop sample? Riwi’s random domain intercept technology uses mistyped URLs to invite respondents to complete your survey.
- Neurotechnology for Market Research – Concerned that stated responses don’t align to respondent feelings/drivers? BitBrain’s wearable technology allows market researchers to easily tap into nonconscious cognitive and emotional information!
So, are you a market researcher who wants a bright future and lot of upside potential? Learn what’s possible, embrace change and new tools, and become the Master of How & Why so you can help your client/company optimize competitive differentiation and business decisions across the customer lifecycle!
Richard Evensen, SVP Sales & Client Success, Phronesis Partners
If the vast majority of brand decision-making is unconscious, marketers should be focusing almost exclusively on subconscious processes to truly understand consumers and influence buying decisions. They’re not, because they shouldn’t.
In the first of a new series looking at how new technology is changing, or has the potential to change, the industry, Felix Rios of Ugam looks at global mobile connectivity and the technologies coming out of Kenya that could revolutionize mobile research.
Alex Johnson, head of innovation at Kantar Operations discusses testing whether wearables like Google Glass could offer a viable alternative to mobile handsets in collecting data. What are the key advantages and disadvantages of using this technology in market research?