In the past, marketing simply meant putting sugary breakfast cereals on shelves that were at kid’s eye-level. But now, in the age of AmazonFresh, that will no longer cut it. Digitalization has snuck into just about every part of human life. Marketing is now a function of information-harvesting technology. As technology evolves, so does market research. Now, we need to infuse a little digital into our dealings. Let’s get acquainted with a few changes market researchers should track to stay relevant:
- Everyone and everything has gone mobile.
You can do everything on-the-go now. Just look around next time you commute to work: everyone’s head is in their smartphones. We’re now dependent on mobile devices to get things done. Getting jobs, shopping, simply staying the loop. There are 2 billion mobile devices currently in use, and that won’t go down.
- DIY or don’t do it at all.
We’re more keyed in than ever before, and that means less dependency on professionals. Many aspects of market research are now digital (imagine crunching numbers by hand!), but don’t worry: “gut feeling” and market experience will still have to come from a human professional.
- Listening is always the answer.
Be quiet for a minute and just listen. Market research is now more than ever about studying customers’ behavior, rather than guessing at its causal reasons. “Internet of things” devices like Bluetooth-enabled beacons—or newer technology—like Project Soli will give market research even greater instruments at hand.
- The machine revolution is here.
It may not look like the Matrix out here yet, but artificial intelligence is taking over the world. We depend on computers more every day. Siri is our calendar, personal assistant, confidant, and encyclopedia. For market researchers, this means innovation in tedious things like bulk-data-sorting.”Intelligent agents” (A.K.A. chatbots) are another huge help: They give an illusion of control to participants, and more importantly, gather F.A.Q. feedback in real-time.
- Blockchain, blockchain, blockchain.
You’ve heard of this. It’s what made everyone Bitcoin-rich. And it can be used to anonymize user data, which means way more accurate predictions: if consumers understand that their data is shared securely and anonymously, data-collection backlash will drop off considerably.
But Where Should Market Research Head Now?
It’s time to integrate these new technologies into day-to-day work. To enhance the current way that market researchers work, they have to assume new roles that respond to the expectations of the future. Take a look:
Storytellers will try to figure out why customers behave how they behave. This means data analysis that asks the questions, “why’s that so?” and “what’s to be done”?
Data scientists have a pretty straightforward, but extremely important job: research and analyze data to predict how things might turn out for product sales and customer service.
Tribal experts look at groups with common interests and values. Tribal experts seek particular products that fit these groups. They’re able to put themselves in the shoes of group members. Tribal experts are key players that won’t only be involved in market analysis, but also in the implementation process.
Hybrid workers will combine the work of tribal experts and data scientists with marketing services. The hybrid aims for an immediate effect on the customer by using insights gathered during research.
Market Research is Unflattering, Tough Work.
But someone’s gotta do it: we have an abundance of data. Market research is the most important instrument for success for every company and industry.