How to Navigate the Market Research Technology Landscape
It is quite hard to make business decisions on a daily basis, from choosing the right team, to choosing the right line of expansion, everything is important when it comes to having a successful business. But, how can we make sure the decisions we are making are the correct ones?
Market research enables businesses to see what their options are and is widely regarded as one of the best ways to make an informed decision. However, there are many different methodologies available to researchers now, and different technologies available to enable those methodologies to be used. However, in order to get the best insights to inform your decision, you need to choose the right methodology and the right piece of technology to conduct your research on. When it comes to choosing the correct piece of technology for doing market research, we need to take a look at the technology available for each stage of a project and choose which one will comply with your needs the most.
To understand the background of it, we need to keep in mind that the market evolves constantly, and we have had new improvements to develop further tools, such as advanced analytics, social media, and new software for data collection. At this point, it is important to keep up to date to demand the most edgy technology you can, because if you already have the budget the least that you can do is spend it in the correct research tools.
What are your Regular Research Needs?
There are two ways you can take this question; two steps you need to consider. The first is what type of research do you want to conduct? Market research has grown in terms of the methodologies being used within it. Traditional quantitative and qualitative research is still being used to a great extent, however other disciplines are coming into the picture and enhancing the market research industry such as: behavioural science, AI and Machine Learning automation, data collection through social monitoring, etc. Deciding which research you want to conduct will tell you what steps of the research process you will go through, which incidentally is the second consideration. Think about the research process you will be going through and find the technologies you need to fit each step of your research experience from research design to insight generation.
To choose the correct set of technology, you need to ask yourself, what do I need more often? The main problem some companies have is that they think they need all of the technologies available in the market, which increases the costs and gives the impression that market research is terribly expensive. However, you do not need to have all the technologies if you are not going to use them; you need to ask yourself, what are my regular needs? Is it concept testing? Product testing? Exploring new territories? Based on this knowledge, you can start building your stack of market research technologies.
Here are a couple of examples of technologies that can be used in different types of market research:
Social media/Online Community platforms: Social media is most commonly used as a behavioural research technology platform as can be used for multitasking, actively running recruitment by directly asking people to try a new product or post content segmenting and showcasing the products to analyse the response and behaviour from your target. Dedicated online research communities are similar to social media platforms, but these are run by researchers directly and are not as public as social media; within online communities, researchers are also able to guide active participants to discuss their opinions on topics of interest to the business.
DIY Surveys Platforms: The most common example of this is Survey Monkey. This online survey platform is a perfect fit if you are looking to have frequent statistical results over different topics. As long as you have a database of consumers, you can create different sets of surveys, not only useful for market research but also to measure customer service.
Integrated Research Platforms: Why bother to have multiple sites when you could have it all in one? That is what an integrated research platform offers; of those available today, some of them only provide quantitative methods like surveys and quick polls, others only include qualitative approach such as diaries and focus groups and finally there are hybrid platforms such as FlexMR’s that can provide both techniques in the same site depending on your business needs. Participants will need guidance in the beginning and you can have your own database or recruit your target audience, is up to you.
Data Analysis is one of the most important parts of the research process and comes after you get your responses. When analysing data, it is important to have a technology that will enable you to analyse data in a clear and fast manner; when doing data analysis on data collected from traditional market research, having access to software such as this makes your life so much easier when it comes to reporting:
Qualitative Data Analysis software: Systems that help in content analysis, transcription analysis, text interpretation etc. It can be used with results from telephone interviews, focus groups, face to face interviews among others. Some examples are NVIVOand MAXQDA.
Quantitative Data Analysis software: Same as the qualitative software, they will read the responses and will create statistical analysis. Some of them will allow programmers to perform report writing, graphics, business planning, forecasting, quality improvement, project management and more. To choose the right one, you will need to decide how complex are results you need. Some examples are SPSS and STATA.
Before deciding which technology you will use, it is important to take time and assess the requirements of your research, the resources of your business, and the technology available to you at the time. Innovation is always around the next corner, providing more and more entertaining and innovative technologies that can be used to enhance the research experience for both researchers and participants. Technologies that, when first invented, would never have been thought of to use for market research purposes (such as VR and AR) are now contributing data to businesses in market research processes at a growing rate.
But assessing the requirements of your research process is essential in order to see which technologies will best suit your purposes. Perhaps if you are not running surveys often, you will not need a quantitative data analysis software. What is best for your business might not be the best technology you currently have and as the market evolves so quickly, you will need to reassess new technologies often in order to be able to conduct the best research and gain the most actionable insights possible.
With substantial experience in both market research and the wider marketing industry, Mayra has developed exceptional client and project management skills. A natural Spanish and English speaker, she uses her multicultural understanding to break down cultural barriers efficiently in the name of research. You can follow Mayra on Twitter.