3 REASONS TRADITIONAL MARKET RESEARCH IS BECOMING IRRELEVANT

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Research being carried out at the Microscopy l...

Research being carried out at the Microscopy lab of the . This photo was taken on July 28, 2006 using a Nikon D70. For more information about INL’s research projects and career opportunities, visit the lab’s facebook site. http://www.facebook.com/idahonationallaboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marketing research interviews and focus groups

Marketing research interviews and focus groups (Photo credit: dmhoro)

focus group dialogue

focus group dialogue (Photo credit: bijoubaby)

English: Mobile marketing research - Methods

English: Mobile marketing research – Methods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Two examples of the T39m, on the left...

English: Two examples of the T39m, on the left is the Classic Blue colour and on the right is the Icecap Blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A protester holding a placard in Tahr...

English: A protester holding a placard in Tahrir Square referring to Facebook and Twitter, acknowledging the role played by social media during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On any given day, how many people do you see walking by with a flip phone? A discman? We’ll venture a guess that you’re probably not seeing very many. Technologies have advanced, replacing these once innovative devices with a more efficient, multi-function tool. 

The same can be said about the world of consumer data and its applications in understanding brand health.

Traditionally, companies used focus groups and surveys as their primary research methods. Such practices provided insights into the preferences and behaviors of a brand’s target demographic. That being said, they also presented significant limitations:

  • Bias: Given the small size of focus groups and the regimented manner in which  they are run, participants are often influenced by other participants and  moderators.
  • Unreliable Results: Audience samples are rarely an accurate representation of the larger  target audience.
  • High Costs: Crafting questions, gathering a representative sample, conducting  surveys, and analyzing results… it takes a lot of time and money to  regularly and effectively execute such studies.

Over the past decade, avenues have opened up for more efficient forms of research. Socialmedia technologies have completely changed the way in which consumers perceive, engage, and consume brands. Postcards requesting customer feedback have been replaced with unsolicited endorsements shared on Facebook brand pages. Angry calls to customer service have been replaced with scorching (and public) 140 character tweets. Consumer feedback is now available in real-time at a massive scale, so why would we continue to limit ourselves to surveys and focus groups? It makes sense to harness the power of consumer social media activity to better understand brands.

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