Market research is a dynamic field. Once industry standards have since become obsolete as newer, better market research methodologies emerge. Yet the longer many professionals stick around in the marketing industry, they might just find that the adage is true: what’s old is new again. That is why taking new developments in market research with a grain of salt is often a smart move. With this in mind, we have attempted to go pick through market research trends and present those which are likely here to stay.
It is also important to understand that developments in market research do not simply rely on updated technology. As we will review today, changing laws and consumer mindsets (amongst other dynamic factors) play a huge role in changing our industry.
Information Laws, Data Privacy, and More
There is no question that information is more readily available to businesses and individuals (and any interest parties for that matter) than ever before in human history. Yet we are noticing that the pendulum of “free” information is starting to swing back towards greater restriction and greater governmental regulation. Perhaps the biggest and most powerful example of new data laws is the recently passed General Data Protection Regulation, frequently shortened to GDPR.
There are seven (7) principles stated in the GDPR:
- Principles relating to processing of personal data
- Lawfulness of processing
- Conditions for consent
- Conditions applicable to child’s consent in relation to information society services
- Processing of special categories of personal data
- Processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions and offenses
- Processing which does not require identification
Obviously, this isn’t the sexiest development in market research, but it just might be the most important and industry-changing. It is also vital to understand that while the GDPR is a European Union law, it is nearly universally viewed as the global standard for data security and best practices.
Using Big Data for Focused Market Research
Big data is nothing new. Yet the scale, scope, and utilization of big data is evolving. Market research is adapting to this new reality by creating more focused research materials. Here are some key examples of how big data is transforming market research:
- Big data is cheap. Where simply acquiring the data needed to perform in depth market research used to be extremely difficult, it is much easier today.
- Geospatial analyses and focused site evaluations. Whether or not you like it, pretty much every piece of personal information, purchase history, demographic information, etc. is available to those with the ability to use it. Market research firms can leverage this raw data into hyper-focused geo analysis and site evaluations that use drive time and other customizable criteria to pinpoint the best target audience for marketing campaigns.
- Customized reporting. As a continuation of the ideas presented in the previous point, reporting can now be run in real time using several applications. This means that market researchers can not only be up-to-date, but that they can also adjust the parameters of customizable reports on the fly for comparison and for improved usefulness.
- Big data and predictive AI. Another natural extension of big data applications is working with predictive AI. Predictive analytics can give market researchers insights into likely future events, consumer behaviors, industry trends, and more.
Understanding Customer Attitudes, Behaviors, and Path-to-Purchase
Traditional market research was all about hard data. How many individuals in group x purchased product y in year z? Modern market research trends aim to understand more mercurial data points like brand perception, customer attitudes, micro-moments, and more. This might seem like new age mumbo jumbo, but the reality is that consumers shop with their hearts more than ever. This is due in part to greater corporate accessibility, greater insights into brand personality, and the market shifting towards more options for consumers.
Market research into customer attitudes, behaviors, and path-to-purchase moments of influence have taken center stage in lieu of traditional market research metrics. Obviously, these newer market research fields are best used in conjunction with all of the “hard data” we referenced above. By leveraging no-nonsense market research with more in-depth and nuanced research into human behaviors, marketing departments can mold their branding efforts to reach the largest audience and gain the most traction possible. In today’s market, raw numbers and reach are often not as important as long term perception and brand strength.
Cutting Edge Marketing Solutions from Clock Tower Insight
Clock Tower Insight helps our clients to build their brands through any means necessary. We believe in using cutting edge research to deliver unparalleled insight and understanding into today’s rapidly changing marketplace. With over 15 years of dedicated experience, our marketing insight has helped organizations including Belle Tire, Nielsen, Orbitz, and Kraft Foods.
We are proud to offer a number of services to our clients, including customer experience management, brand positioning in the marketplace, market sizing, market testing, and more.