Defining the Value of Traditional Research Methods in a Digital World

As technology has evolved, people and how they operate have too. Once upon a time, market researchers couldn’t collect data by the push of a button, conduct interviews with respondents across the world via video chat, or analyze social media trends.

Back in the day, market researchers had to mail out surveys and sit down with people face-to-face for interviews (*gasp*). However, just because the digital world has created an entirely new list of possibilities, doesn’t mean we have to leave behind these traditional research methods.

Drive Research utilizes several digital research methods. These include online surveys, interviews via video chat, online focus groups, recruitment via social media, and much more.

Although our market research company may use these new, savvy research methods, Drive Research still uses a wide range of traditional methods, despite having access to advanced technology. Why haven’t we forgotten the many seemingly outdated ways to collect data? We still use traditional research methods because they still add value.

In order to fairly represent every demographic in our research, market researchers need to reach potential respondents in the ways they want to communicate. An example of this would be sending an online and mobile-friendly survey to a millennial, while sending the same survey to a baby boomer via snail mail.

In this blog post, we’ll explore valuable traditional market research methods to utilize when digital options are not available or not best suited for your research needs.

traditional research methods in a digital worldThe digital world is revolutionizing market research in many ways but that doesn't mean traditional methodologies should fall to the wayside.

Traditional Market Research Method #1: Mail Surveys

Mail surveys are a very useful market research tool because they allow us to reach audiences that can be difficult to collect data from, such as those without a phone or easy access to the internet. Although this method may seem dated, it works.

In a world where email inboxes are cluttered, receiving a letter in the mail is seen as more personable and genuine. Since the survey was mailed out with a cover letter and returned postage, respondents are able to understand the importance of the research and have a simple survey-return process. This methodology has a higher response rate than you might think.

There are also industries such as healthcare and financial sectors that can only communicate or send marketing materials to their clients through the mail. They must follow certain protocols that do not allow surveys and other research methods to be done online or on the phone. For this reason, these industries must learn to thrive off of traditional market research methods such as mail surveys.

Our organization works across the country assisting businesses with mail surveys. Here is how the process works.

Traditional Market Research Method #2: Phone Surveys

Like mail surveys, phone surveys provide a personable and genuine experience for the respondent, in addition to reaching those who might not be online. Phone surveys allow the interviewer to guide the respondent from question to question, ensuring each question is being read the way it was intended. With written and digital surveys, this experience is not available.

Phone surveys allow for a real connection and interaction between the interviewer and participant. The interviewer is able to bait the participant for more detail into their responses rather than an open-ended survey question which typically results in a one-sentence response. Surveys done by phone can better capture the “why” of a topic of study.

Here is my take on why phone surveys still have a place in market research.

Traditional Market Research Method #3: Intercept Surveys

Intercept surveys are a great way to collect customer feedback and gauge satisfaction. This type of research is typically done in person and at public places, such as a grocery store. The interviewer will ask the customer to stop and share their opinion for just a minute or two.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of an intercept survey is capturing in-the-moment feedback. An interviewer can capture responses as an event is happening. This type of data is much more reliable than online surveys sent days, weeks, or months after a customer has completed an action.

At this point, too much time has passed for a customer to offer a true representation of their experiences. An intercept survey eliminates any time lapse as they are usually conducted while a shopping experience is happening or directly after.

Traditional Market Research Method #4: Focus Groups

At Drive Research, focus groups are a traditional research method we use quite often because of our onsite focus group facility. Although focus groups have evolved to involve technology, and sometimes even take place completely online, major technology is not necessary to conduct a successful focus group - it is however an added bonus.

Technology such as state of the art speakers and recording capabilities can really take a focus group of a notch. While not required, this type of technology helps enhance a traditional group discussion.

Traditional focus groups or online focus groups? Let this blog post help you decide.

Traditional Market Research Method #5: Face-to-Face Interviews

Even with the incredible technology that exists in today’s digital world, sitting down with someone face-to-face to conduct an interview can be beneficial to any research study. Although video chat allows us to instantly communicate with people from around the world, researchers miss out on nonverbal cues when they’re not conducting face-to-face research.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…

Technology is an incredible and powerful tool we use every day at Drive Research. But, just because we have this awesome equipment, doesn’t mean we always have to use it.

As a market research company, we have learned the importance of utilizing traditional research methods, even in a time when technology is so prevalent.

Data can only reflect those it is collected from. Therefore, if every aspect of every project we ever did was completed online, our results would only reflect those who are active on social media or check their email inboxes.

When we call respondents with a phone survey, mail out a paper survey, or stop someone at a grocery store to answer a few questions, we are providing many different audiences with opportunities to have their feedback and opinions heard.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust market research study, whether it include traditional, digital, or a mixture of both styles of methodologies.

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

Message us on our website
Email us at [email protected]
Call us at 888-725-DATA
Text us at 315-303-2040

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