Media Coverage: BWDisrupt - Business World
Technology is rapidly changing around us. Today we are surrounded in our day to day lives with devices ranging from Mobile and Wearable Technologies, Cloud Computing Solutions, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and much more. Such dynamic changes in behavioural patterns has impacted every walk of life including Businesses and Market Research.
Market Research has over the years advanced from the traditional method of merely identifying and recruiting groups of people for discussions and one to one interactions with an interviewer. Advances in technology and an increased understanding of behavioural economics have transformed the methodologies and the processes adopted in this space.
Modern day marketers are deploying new age approaches such as wearables and video streaming to engage with respondents for varying needs. This in turn helps generate valuable insights about the very basis of human behaviour. It is acknowledged that interacting with subjects in a such way that they do not feel that they are being monitored leads to more honest and genuine insights in a study.
The power of technology and automation has allowed Market Research to churn out more qualitative data that is more accurate and up to date than ever before. Monitoring mechanisms depending on the category or the product can be deployed to understand consumer or respondent dynamics. Take for instance a study to understand the shifting breakfast habits in Indian households. An app allowing a respondent to simply upload his daily food intake details can help a company study this segment on a real-time basis.
Or a questionnaire targeted at car drivers when they are on the road, to be answered when they stop at signals or at petrol stations, can throw up valuable data about a driver’s preferences especially since you have his undivided attention.
A leading cereal maker recently engaged us to monitor changing breakfast habits in tier 2 cities and households. The study found that surprisingly breakfast patterns were fast shifting to suit a more frenzied modern day lifestyle. Bread toast and omelettes were taking over the traditional bastions of Idli, Vada, Dosa and Parathas in many a city. Qualitative in depth studies were the answer to uncovering underlying insights such as changing lifestyles that could be attributed to fuelling such trends.
Need for a mindset change
While the traditional face to face interviews and group discussions have been prevalent for a long time now, there is a need for companies to unlearn many such preferences and instead adopt new age technologies while providing solutions. With behavioural economics beginning to play a more pivotal role in decision making and marketing in today’s world, only technology can provide the scale and depth required to study such trends in real time. How do you monitor a subject’s mood and decision making prowess at different times of the day? Mobile technology such as wearables and other devices can help study such trends effectively.
Imagine having to keep subjects engaged for extended period, sometimes even lasting more than an hour in a traditional interview setting. Such situations can lead to fatigue and then collecting genuine feedback may be a challenge. Also, the added concern is that the respondents may feel they are being judged or the worry that they are conscious of the constant scrutiny of the interviewer, etc. Use of technology can eliminate many such intrusive factors and instead allow respondents to provide unbiased feedback in their comfort of their homes and at a time of their choice.
Analytics and data crunching
Smart analytics methodologies and processes developed by some companies including us at Markelytics and Velocity aims to discover patterns and invaluable insights that were hitherto impossible. One must remember that even an interviewer as well as his respondent are human and as a result the chances of getting distracted is a distinct reality. Technology powered market research can easily eliminate many such common problems that can arise from human oversight.
A large mobile services and solution provider wanted to monitor reactions of over 100,000 users nationally with respect to a promotional offer. The actual offer only lasts for a month and the company has over 100 million users spread over the country. It is physically impossible to meet this many respondents in person within a month, or to collate data and to then analyse it within weeks. Analytics and technology comes to the rescue by addressing predetermined questionnaires and responses with algorithms doing all the work in generating trend reports.
Once data is collated there are several methods to customise data analytics to suit a particular industry or category. One can also deploy past learnings to develop a robust system to monitor and gauge incoming data periodically and effectively.
Time Saving - Conduct a global study within hours
With the advent of panel based market research, several conventional methodologies are disappearing, leading to more positive and improved outcomes in research. Using this technique select panels are recruited across markets with a robust rewards and motivational mechanism in place to keep feedback authentic. Some companies such as ours have empanelled respondents globally across key markets.
Let us picture an ecommerce start-up that wants to release a line of women’s apparel and wishes to study global trends in women’s fashion to assist the launch. By using panel based research one can reach as many countries as you wish and get a global understanding of women’s wear, preferences and trends within an hour, possibly even within 24 hours. Once data comes in from the panels the expert analysis team will study the reports from analytics and then draw key learnings in the context of the brand.
Hence it is evident that technology has overhauled every aspect of our lives and as well as every industry that we operate in. Market Research is no exception and has successfully harnessed various applications of technology to improve the way data is collated and processed. Currently of competition, insights are probably the only edge that can prove to be the differentiator, and new age market research is the ultimate solution to provide this.