Wondering what's trending in the market research industry? You've come to the right blog!
In this post, we put a spotlight on 6 emerging methodologies in market research which include:
(1) Social media analytics
(2) Text analytics
(3) Mobile ethnography
(4) Research gamification
(5) Sensory testing
Some of these methodologies you may have already heard of, others maybe not. Either way, our market research company in Syracuse, NY that serves clients across the country can define each with examples for you.
Have questions? We can get you answers from those who matter most to your organization.
Here's to the future of market research!
What is Social Media Analytics?
This is likely one emerging methodology in market research that you have already heard of. Unless you've been buried under a rock the past 15 to 20 years. Social media analytics assesses the effectiveness of a post. A few examples of what social media analytics can tell users is the number of likes and shares, impressions (i.e. the amount of people the post was shown to), and link clicks.
There are also several platforms and systems large organizations use to track sentiment and reaction to their brand, new products, or new services. So if the world is talking about your new product, chances are there is a social media analytics platform that is collecting data in real-time.
What are people saying? Do they like it? What needs to be fixed? Is the discussion positive or negative? There are all things social sentiment platforms track for big brands.
Why social media analytics is a game changer: Used effectively, researchers and marketers alike have the tools and data needed to craft higher performing posts. This means more likes, shares, impressions, and link clicks! The key to doing this correctly is digging into the data of posts to understand how variations of content affect the effectiveness of the post. For example, an A/B test of an ad keeps the post text the same but uses two different pictures. After the A/B test, one post may outperform another which allows the user to proceed with the most effective post.
Social media sentiment and monitoring is a game changer because it can save an awful lot on traditional market research. If people are voluntarily talking about a brand or product unprompted, it's likely to be more real and less biased than if it were asked by a market research company. Sentiment and social trackers allow brands to remain in the background and understand conversations around their products and services, without having to recruit participants to a focus group or invite them to take a survey.
What is Text Analytics?
Here's to the future and text analytics, a new emerging methodology in market research. Let's face it market researchers, reading and coding open-ended questions takes a long time. While I agree that coding is the most powerful way to get meaning from open-ended text, there are cases where I have full faith in text analytics.
Researchers use text analytics when analyzing open-ended questions or text from respondents. Text analytics can refer to word clouds, which makes words used more frequently larger, but more in-depth text analytics refers to automated categorization of text. Some platforms are more advanced than others.
Outputs can be in the form of word counts of the most common words used, charts indicating how many responses were positive versus negative, and more. Other models include sentiment analysis, topic modeling, and word correlation. As these systems get more advanced with the analysis of text, the term shifts more towards text mining.
Why text analytics is a game changer: Time. Time. Time.
I cannot say it enough. As someone who has done days worth of reading open-ended questions and coding, I can confirm that text analytics is a huge time saver for the market research industry. While there will certainly be times when coding an open-ended question is needed, text analytics is there for researchers when coding is unneeded. Text mining and text analytics takes the analysis of the word and words used by respondents so much further than just an open-end.
What is Mobile Ethnography?
Mobile ethnography, a new emerging research methodology, breaks down the barriers between the researcher and participant. For these types of studies, a researcher observes the actions of a participant over a period of time using their mobile device. Results from these studies can be used to answer questions of consumers' motivations, attitudes, believes, and values.
The process can involve various tasks for the participant such as completing a daily online journal or recording video to answer in-depth questions.
Why mobile ethnography is a game changer: Mobile ethnography makes the observation process between the researchers and participant easy. Participants can use their phone to answer log information in an online journal and record video. Making communication easier and faster also means research can be conducted easier and faster. Since everyone (and I mean most everyone) is attached to their mobile devices, research needs to find ways to leverage these convenience factors.
It observes and interacts with participants in their most natural environment. In many cases with these mobile studies, the participant simply records their lifestyle action or engagement with pictures or videos. With ethnography there is not type of interference with biased questions or interviewer bias which may occur with IDIs or through focus groups.
Mobile ethnography = Research made mobile
What is Research Gamification?
Research gamification is a new emerging research methodology, and it's also a pretty simple one. It refers to the process of making survey questions "gamified" (aka more fun/game-like). A really simple example of this could be a matching game where respondents are asked to drag words from a word bank and match them to various brands. The results from research gamification can lead to a higher survey complete rate and more engaged respondents.
A second survey example could be to make a question more creative and game-like. Instead of asking, "What is the best way to market this new product?" You can ask the question as "If you were the person hired to market this new product and you had a million dollar bonus if the product was successful, how would you market this new product?"
Points and rewards also play a role in gamification. Several surveys offered tiered values in points or quiz-like features to keep respondents engaged. A survey can be structured to ask questions that are valuable to an organization like, "Which of the following products and services do we offer?" Then the respondent is awarded a point for each one they correctly choose.
Why research gamification is a game changer: It's fun. More importantly, it keeps survey respondents engaged which leads to higher quality data. Gamification is something that many market research companies do and probably do not realize they are doing it. The old way (and stale way) to write a survey is a dying breed. Gamification keeps our market research interesting.
What is Sensory Testing?
Sensory testing is another new emerging research methodology you may have heard of before. It refers the research of taste, sound, smell, feel, design/look, etc. This type of research is most commonly used in the development stage of a product.
For example, a hot cocoa company decides to create a new low calorie hot cocoa, but wants it taste as close to the original product as possible. Sensory testing would create a controlled environment for several taste testers who provide feedback on each of the new recipes so the company can proceed with the best choice.
With the institution of Virtual Reality (VR) into market research it's opened several doors for design and look market research. Why ask a survey about an in-store grocery shopping experience and shelf placement of products when you can strap on a VR headset and recreate the aisle for the shopper?
Why sensory testing is a game changer: Sensory testing brings rigor to traditional taste testing. Taste testing is typically held in a simple room where participants can interact during the tasting and factors like aromas in the air, humidity levels, and air conditioning are not well controlled. Sensory testing, however, is more scientific. Participants are given private spaces, air is controlled, and the time each participant has to taste is precise.
VR has revolutionized traditional market research helping brands get in front of consumers and test attitudes and behaviors without even having to leave the office. VR can take you to any store, shelf-design, or building without physical having to be there.
What is Crowdsourcing?
Lastly we have crowdsourcing, which is our final emerging trend discussed in this blog. In simple terms, crowdsourcing means a group of people are asked to provide feedback. The idea is that there is a large, relatively open group of people who are willing to answer questions, but the key is to ask the right questions to meet your objective.
An example could be a cookie company releasing several new flavors and asking consumers to buy, try, and rate online which flavor they like best. A side benefit to research like this is driving customers to the brand's website or social media pages which further engages customers.
Why crowdsourcing is a game changer: The overall idea is to take a project and outsource it to a group of people. It opens up research-like activities to the masses rather than having to conduct a scientific survey with a random sample of respondents. Crowdsourcing plays off of the principle that a brand can directly interact and get feedback from large groups without using traditional market research methodologies.
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