As commerce and market research look to broaden their insights into what shapes the trends at the heart of their consumer bases, combining digital tools and methods with a human or personal touch can present some interesting challenges. How do we balance the increased quantity of information with the quality of direct interaction and insight that can reveal true clarity and direction? How do we deepen our insight by keeping an increased number of people engaged for longer?
In order to generate and analyse the most in-depth picture of consumer bases or service users, researchers are increasingly able to finesse traditional research methods with increased reach and accessibility. By examining new ways to platform and invite discussion on research questions, researchers and their stakeholders have the potential to reach and engage larger research samples or communities than ever before.
Agility in Tools, Methods and Access
Market research projects can begin with any number of research questions or aims. Some are planned to run over a short time frame and generate some consumer perspectives on a specific idea or concept, while others may have a longer-term aim of creating an ongoing research community, whose various insights can be embedded at the heart of the decision-making process.
Whatever the overarching project aims, having access to a variety of ways for people to engage with research tools and methods continues to allow researchers access to broader communities. Increasing accessibility in research projects by using online methods and ongoing communities can help to build robust and well-rounded research panels, by including people who previously not have taken part in market research, due to various barriers such as location or lack of spare time.
For commercial and non-commercial researchers, and their stakeholders, the best way to ensure depth of insight is to allow their panel to engage with concepts or research questions through a variety of feedback activities. By maintaining an agile approach to how we platform our research questions, and how we engage panels, we can help grow a further and more insightful reach to previously dormant sample pools.
Diversity in Online Research Panels
As with agility, diversity of research tools and methods is important to maintain and access a diverse research pool. Utilising multiple research methods or tools across the same concept can often provide additional layers and/or preferences in respondent perspectives. In addition to this, diversity of research tools and methods can also drive better consumer-informed decisions, helping maintain a diverse and loyal consumer base.
For those carrying out research into commercial or non-commercial service provision, it can be especially important to ensure they have a diverse range of opinions, with real and actionable perspectives to shape future decisions. Likewise, for a long-term online community, diversity in tools and methods continues to help engage and retain access to varied research pools by helping engage a broader pool of respondents, and gathering a range of feedback across a variety of methods.
Whatever the aim or question behind the research, allowing consumers to provide their feedback in a diverse range of ways will enrich the quality and quantity of your potential analysis materials.
Maintaining the Human Touch
Although many commercial and non-commercial services have increasingly moved online in the last decade, the events of the last few years have also increasingly moved a lot of human-to-human contact online. In keeping with the ideas of agility and diversity, it has been important for researchers and their stakeholders to move towards online methods of quantitative data collection. As businesses, service providers, and their stakeholders reach wider consumer demographics, it’s vital for their decision-making that they are able to draw on agile and proactive research that accounts for changing trends in business and commerce.
However, it’s also important to find ways to replicate or simulate the human interaction that can drive real clarity and honesty in qualitative feedback. Online research communities can be fantastic for precipitating unbiased and anonymised research on certain concepts, but the online space can sometimes be synonymous with being distant or indifferent.
As we know, some concepts or ideas can generate more enriched insights when they are discussed or tested in a more familiar or consumer-centred environment. Providing a secure and navigable online space can help researchers stay in contact with their panel in a more direct and current way. Balanced alongside recognisable or familiar aspects of established branding and aims, researchers can build a vibrant and active community, with concept or brand focus underpinning the core of its research.
Curating, Analysing, and Sharing Findings
In addition to seeking out agile and diverse market research tools, researchers and their stakeholders continue to gain the best insight, not only by employing a diverse range of research tools and methods, but also by finding agile and diverse ways to curate, analyse and share that knowledge. Embedding consumer-driven insights as a cornerstone of decision-making is an effective and key measure to reflecting consumer or stakeholder needs within a business model. In order to derive the most meaningful insights, it’s important to be able to analyse and display research insights with clarity and actionable outcomes as a key theme.
While a depth and breadth of data is essential for researchers to be able to identify and predict patterns of behaviour in a group or consumer base, in order to truly maximise actionable output and clarity of vision from it, analysis tools that will allow us to understand these patterns on a micro and macro level are essential.
An ability to accurately and safely curate consumer research findings also continue to be highly valued by both researchers, and their stakeholders. In addition to being able to analyse quant data on an individual and group level, analysis tools that allow researchers to measure qual data against known consumer information, will continue to give them an added insight into how behaviour and experiences are shaped, as well as helping to predict potential future trends.
As commerce and ideas about service provision continue to evolve, it’s important that we are able to act on behalf of their stakeholders to make sure their insight is both current and truly reflective.
In order to go on to embed these key insights within a decision-making process, we also need to be able to attract the attention of stakeholders, and present or share research with them that is relevant, well considered, and concise. By using flexible and community-linked analysis tools, we can identify patterns, track and predict trends and give an overall cross-section of findings from research panels, as well as tap into smaller trends or pools of information therein.
As commerce and ideas about service provision continue to evolve into the future, it’s important that researchers are able to act on behalf of their clients or businesses to make sure their consumer insight is both current, and truly reflective. By building high-quality, engaged research panels, in a space that is reflective of the research aims or branding, researchers can maximise the output and depth of insight that businesses can derive from their consumer base.
Moving forward, the application of diverse research tools and methods, through innovative and agile uses of technology and market research knowledge, will be highly valued by stakeholders and decision-makers, and having a close and tangible link to depth of high-quality perspectives will also continue to be desirable, because of the ability to help key stakeholders make truly informed decisions.
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insights Blog and can be accessed here.