Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Larry Goodfellow
Market research is changing, with expectations shifting to cheaper, faster, deeper findings.
In a recent article by Yazid Jamian and Steve Murphy entitled 6 trends in Asia-Pacific Market Research on Quirks.com they discuss the economic slowdown in China, and how market research is changing in the region to cheaper, faster, and easier to access options. The article breaks these trends down into six key points which we believe shows that market research online communities will be the leader in how market research is conducted in the future. Companies are looking for cheaper and faster access to find out what their customers want, need and expect. This needs to be done in a flexible manner that can allow outside market research firms to help, as well as DIY options to accommodate all sizes of business.
No Longer Recession Proof
Market research is “no longer recession-proof.” In the past, most firms had a market research budget that was guaranteed no matter the economic hardships. However, for most companies these days are pretty much over. Now market research is treated as part of the marketing mix. Just as advertising, communications, and branding can see cuts when times are tough, that now includes market research. Murphy and Jamian write, “Only market research that delivers clear and compelling insights survives.” The shift has been to more qualitative research which is more powerful, and in depth. “Qualitative research has become more powerful and is being seen as more direct, nimble and able to bring greater depth to the research agency’s response to an issue.” We believe that one step beyond that is the qualitative research for online communities which is even more nimble.
The rush for faster and cheaper sees no end in sight. There has been a rise in new research technology that allows clients to obtain insights faster. Market Research Online Communities or (MROC’s) is one of the new technologies that provides lower cost for projects, and gives a methodology that is more fitting with today’s consumers. Online research Communities have a high initial investment, but they provide bigger bang for the investment, providing clients with maximum impact for their money. “Questions are back almost overnight and insights are tailored to the questions of the day, as opposed to questions which were prominent eight weeks ago.” They mention that many companies in Asia-Pacific have been slow to invest in this new technology, although many larger companies have invested and are beginning to reap the rewards.
While mobile use in Asia Pacific has been on the forefront, mobile research has a lot of catching up to do. Mobile optimized online communities as a methodology differs throughout Asia-Pacific, depending on the country. Murphy and Jamian write how it is more popular in areas such as Hong Kong and Singapore but what is lacking are robust mobile phone panels. This lack of robust panels makes it more expensive than traditional routes. Another main factor that hinders mobile research is that clients are reluctant to shorten the questions to suit mobile research. Murphy and Jamian expect more experimenting as rates of smartphone penetration grow in markets such as India and Indonesia.
Many clients have begun to experiment with DIY research. The current business environment as well as increased technology has been causing clients to internally conduct their own market research. This can include DIY platforms such as SurveyMonkey, and The Thinking Shed, to be used to set up their own community panels. Many companies have begun blending their DIY with the assistance of MR agencies to help with bigger programs, consultative and specialized strategic market research. Murphy and Jamian say while this DIY may look disadvantageous to market research agencies, it is actually “forcing agencies to innovate, to increase the breadth of the research solutions that they offer, while providing deeper insights and value.”
Market researchers are having to be more on point than ever before. Clients want to work with agencies that understand their business and are able to provide insights in a very clear, action based plan. Murphy and Jamian conclude that “clients want to engage senior market research staff who have credibility in the boardroom, and who can offer compelling recommendations on a client’s business objectives.”
The market research field has and will continue to see a lot of changes as companies have begun expecting better results for less cost. Yazid Jamian and Steve Murphy write that while market research online communities have a high initial investment at the beginning they do pay off long term providing maximum impact for the money. I believe that their trend forecasting is correct, and that we must be open to new ways of doing market research. Let’s talk about MROC software.
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