Confirmit Australia country manager Chris Breslin talks to B&T about the future of market research and working with consumers.
Market Research (MR) has always been an essential part of the marketing mix but there is increasing discussion about what the future for MR will hold and whether it will be superseded by new ways of asking existing or potential customers for their opinions.
MR provides statistically reliable data at the macro or big picture level but in an increasingly customer-centric world, it doesn’t necessarily provide the ‘micro’ level detail about a customer’s experience that can make a difference to future sales or repeat business.
Little wonder businesses are now looking at new approaches that help them engage with customers.
Instead of steering away from direct contact with respondents because of the traditional need for impartiality and anonymity, MR is evolving to include one-to-one interactions, embrace social media and master the issues around big data.
No longer just relying on large tables of data, pages of raw information and static PowerPoint presentations, MR is using cutting-edge digital dashboards to demonstrate its value to the customer experience, the brand and business success overall.
This necessary evolution will mean that new approaches like mobile surveys, social media monitoring, and big data analysis will be on the table.
However the challenge is how best to marry the old and the new to create something more responsive, more agile, more direct and more relevant.
This is where Voice of the Customer (VoC) is making its presence felt.
‘Plugged in’ consumers respond more effectively to shorter and more frequent enquiries, especially if their views are requested immediately after an interaction.
This ‘moment of truth’ feedback might not provide the same strategic insight as that of a panel but it does provide valuable data that can be used immediately to generate demonstrable ROI.
When combined with other data from wider MR studies it really shows its value.
Active mobile users are far more likely to provide positive or negative feedback to a supplier that harnesses mobile as a research tool because it radically improves the likelihood that they will enjoy the survey experience.
This is going to be increasingly vital as demand on consumer’s attention and time continues to rise.
The ability to complete surveys during the ‘cracks in the day’, such as during commuting time, must be made available.
Traditional surveys simply cannot reach the modern day respondent in a fashion that will fully engage and interest.
It is also worth noting that whilst traditional surveys, random samples and statistical rigour will not go away, they will decrease in importance as we become more practised at incorporating ‘indirect’ or ‘unsolicited’ data from social media and ‘passive’ data from behavioural tracking into the overall MR mix.
In order to create a holistic view of the customer, traditional and non-traditional technologies must work alongside each other.
Market Research must integrate seamlessly with CRM, HR and sales to get to the ‘why’ of customer sentiment and behaviour.
Surely this is where the evolutionary path will lead us and where the future of MR and VoC in the overall marketing mix can be achieved.