Traditional market research is out of date, costly and often ineffective. Fortunately, the market research trends that are occurring in 2013 are good for both customers and marketers. It’s a win-win situation where the company gets what it wants (honest customer feedback) and the customer gets what he wants (the power to influence).
- Faster micro surveys: People are busy and don’t have time for long-winded surveys anymore. Researchers will need to create faster micro surveys that are quick and to the point. These surveys – with just one or two questions – will be easier to create, implement and analyze. Response rates will also be much higher.
- Mobile market devices will surpass stationary/laptop devices: People are leaving their laptops at home and in a few years they may not even upgrade. More and more internet engagement is occurring on mobile devices. As a result, researchers need to create best practices for designing mobile surveys.
- Traditional focus groups are out and Facebook pages are in: Instead of guessing what customers think of a company’s product, social media and technology have made it easier for customers to be outright asked. Companies engage in more social listening and are gaining more information than they ever did before. Facebook product page visitors can be raving ambassadors or diehard complainers. The power of having them there always is that companies can spend their time and money asking for criticism and praise in real time, via interactive triggers such as video product updates and links to virtual experiences.
- High-tech tracking of consumer behavior: Instead of following a participant around a store asking them what they think, two new technological solutions have been created for that purpose. Smart phone applications can track shoppers as they travel through the store aisles and that information can be instantly sent to the retailer for analysis. In addition, a new method called Scan It! is available in US grocery stores. Loyal customers carry it with them as they browse aisles. Based on previous purchasing behavior, the device will notify the customer if a particular item in their vicinity is on sale. The actual movement of the customer as he travels down the aisles is tracked along with his spending habits.
2012 Trends’ Summary
These four trends above deliver a more interactive exchange between customer and company that occurs in real time. Micro surveys, mobile devices, online social sites like Facebook, and high-tech consumer-behavior tracking give companies instant information that enables them to zero in on what impacts customers most.
The role of market researcher will change from just reporting and analyzing to influencing customer behavior within the survey experience. For example, when a participant responds to a micro-survey, he can be prompted to forward a copy of his positive response to his network of friends and family in exchange for an added personal benefit. Affiliate marketing may move from B2B to customer2network. This may turn customers into paid mini-sellers. Companies that have the most enthusiastic and loyal fans will be the most successful.