Thanks to new technologies and changing global markets, digital marketing is one of the fastest-growing sectors in 2021. The market research industry is experiencing a similar swell. It’s been slowed a bit due to COVID-19 (what hasn’t) but the $74 billion dollar market research services arena will keep growing.
As brands continue to follow their customers around on the internet and collect more and more data, we ask: what trends and techniques will define the global market research industry in the year to come?
COVID-19 is pushing market research online. For qualitative research, online focus groups are replacing traditional ones, at least for the moment. One major difference is that online focus group research can occur either in real-time or asynchronously. However, the fundamentals are the same:
Lockdown or no lockdown, ain’t nobody got time for a 15-minute survey. Consumers are so deluged with brand communications that shorter, more efficient surveys tend to get better response rates. Strategically written 1-and 2-question surveys can provide useful insights. Net Promoter Score, for example, is a popular format that measures a customer’s “willingness to recommend” your product or service to their friends and family.
Smart technology also helps market researchers by collecting demographic data at the point of transaction. This allows for shorter surveys and reduces survey fatigue. In addition, these shorter surveys can be administered “in the moment” via SMS to mobile devices. New technologies also enable “virtual store visits” using shoppers’ smartphones.
A longitudinal study involves observing and interacting with a group of research participants over a longer period of time – typically several weeks or months. Customized online platforms allow market research analysts to gather and record ongoing data from customers.
As opposed to a snapshot survey, a longitudinal study can unlock deeper insights into:
These days more and more brands are turning to long-term studies. In-depth feedback from a longitudinal study can inform your newest design and make smarter, more informed choices.
Listening in on social media to catch conversations about your brand is a must. The digital footprint left behind by social media keeps growing, as does the amount of time we spend there. If you want to talk like ‘em, act like ‘em, and think like ‘em, you’ve got to observe them in their natural habitat. Social listening is a market research trend we only see gaining traction in the years to come.
Savvy brands use social listening tools to monitor mentions of the brand, keeping an eye out for short-term indicators around consumer research. Review sites and other online communities like reddit can also be great places for social listening.
2021 will be another big year for the market research industry, and we’re excited to be a part of that. For over 30 years, our research analysts have been helping brands get insights to improve and edge out the competition.
What market research industry trends are you are looking forward to and are keeping an eye on for 2021 and beyond?