At The DRG, we regularly monitor industry trends always searching for opportunities to refine our research approaches, enhance our respondents’ experience, and provide the best possible CX intelligence for our clients. Last month, Greenbook published their bi-annual Greenbook Research Industry Trends report (GRIT), which provides an excellent overview of the market research industry, identifying current and emerging trends. Here are three trends, covered in the report, that we view as driving forces changing the dynamics of market research.
1. Mobile-first surveys are now recognized as a distinct methodology, with 43% of research buyers currently using them.
Market researchers use the term ‘mobile-first’ to describe surveys that are designed specifically to be taken on a smartphone, either via web link or a mobile survey app. This latest GRIT report is the first to track usage of mobile-first surveys separately from online surveys.
Why is this important for brand marketers?
A key reason for the growing use of mobile-first surveys is the benefit gained by leveraging smartphone functionality. Consumers can easily share multi-media feedback like photos or video. When permission is granted, market researchers are able to add greater context to consumer feedback by layering in passive data from mobile devices such as geo-location or online search history. From a respondent perspective, mobile-first surveys give consumers the freedom to share their experiences with brands in a natural way, just as they communicate with their social circles – via their mobile devices. The more comfortable we make the research respondent’s experience, the more likely we will be to uncover authentic and compelling consumer experience stories.
2. Options are expanding for gathering in-depth consumer feedback with the innovative use of mobile and digital technology.
Marketers are interacting with consumers through market research in a wide variety of ways. One-third or more are using mobile technology or webcam-based interviews to gather qualitative insights. These methods add a face-to-face dimension to the more traditional phone interview without the cost and time constraints of conducting in-person research. Nearly a third of research buyers are using mobile technology to get inspiration from ethnography. Each of these techniques has increased in overall adoption over the past two years.
What does this mean for brand marketers?
Greater choice in personalized research tools increases the potential for brand marketers to uncover truly unique consumer insights. With that, an empathetic understanding of your customers’ experience can take hold across your organization, inspiring innovation that will deepen consumer relationships and give your brand a meaningful point of differentiation.
3. Storytelling and data visualization, big data, and automation in the research field continue to generate interest and excitement.
Over a third of GRIT survey participants consider storytelling, data visualization, big data and automation as potential ‘game-changers’ in the market research industry. Overall interest in storytelling and data visualization has even grown since 2016.
What benefit do these tools and resources offer brand marketers?
The pace of business is constantly accelerating. At the same time, we’re witnessing a period of dramatic growth in the sheer volume of available customer data. It’s no wonder why brand marketers are looking for research partners who can gather, synthesize, and socialize market research findings both faster and more cost efficiently than ever before. These needs are driving the market research field to develop advances in automation that speed up the process of collecting and processing large volumes of data, often from multiple sources. Doing so frees up valuable time for in-depth analysis to reveal the underlying customer experience story within the data. Then, it takes creative data visualization to share that story and its implications on future business decisions, clearly, concisely, and across multiple internal audiences. With that intelligence in hand, marketers can attend to the business of meeting and exceeding their customers’ needs before competitors do so first.
What’s in it for the consumer?
This year is shaping up to become the year of the ‘respondent experience’. We see a heightened importance being placed on conducting research that engages with consumers using their preferred modes of communication and a greater respect for the value of their time and information. Making the research experience as engaging as possible for respondents is a win-win proposition for marketers leading to high quality data, encouraging higher response rates, and helping manage costs in the long-run.
Likewise, both brands and consumers benefit from innovations in the research industry that facilitate the integration of consumer data from multiple sources. It lessens the burden placed on consumers to provide direct feedback, while helping put the information they share into clearer focus for marketers. We see this as a positive trend that will help ensure high quality data and research outcomes that can be readily implemented, while containing research costs.
All in all, these trends are helping transform the dynamics of market research from a transaction between brands and consumers into a meaningful relationship between the two. Market researchers who recognize this shift and its impact on how research is designed, conducted, and communicated will be highly sought after.