Market research is evolving at a staggering pace. Every year the pace of innovation in the industry increases and 2015 has been no exception. There have been some huge, disruptive changes with effects that have yet to be fully realised. At FlexMR, we pride ourselves on innovation and strive to offer the latest market research technology to our clients. Over the course of the past few months we have made some radical changes to ensure our clients can make the most of their research opportunities.
In this article we want to break down some of these changes and highlight the most important trends that we have noticed through the first half of 2015. From the exponential rise of mobile research to whole new research paradigms, the industry is in a state of change and disruption. This creates a whole host of exciting opportunities for brands and agencies alike. Our top five market research trends of 2015 are:
1. Mobile Market Research
Mobile research is no longer an emerging trend, it has arrived and it is here to stay. In 2014, we reached the mobile tipping point — the point where there are more mobile mobile internet users than desktop users. By mid-2015, digital marketing experts were warning us of the impending mobilegeddon. This update from Google gave significantly more prominence to marketers that made use of mobile friendly websites. More than this, however, it signalled an important change in mind-set. Marketers had to pay attention to the mobile market.
With this change in thinking, the mobile market research industry boomed. The ability to access consumers’ thoughts, emotions and experiences in real time became an exciting prospect. Researchers needed to develop ways of taking advantage of this real-time feedback, and incorporate it into marketing strategies. Surveys were no longer sufficient and it soon became apparent that the opportunities mobile research offered were much greater.
It is for this reason, that we have ensured our entire suite of qual and quant tools are available on mobile devices. In addition, we have driven innovation forward by integrating document, image and video upload into this platform. This allows participants to record video selfies and document rich, emotive feedback in real time. Mobile market research shows no signs of slowing down and the next challenge will be developing methods to encourage community engagement on the go.
2. Social Integration of Research
It is no secret that research is becoming increasingly social. 2014 was the year of the social listening tool, and some still predict that this will become even more integrated into business intelligence. However in the past few months, another form of social integration has arisen — community based natural discussion.
Research communities are not a new concept, however the way in which brands are using them is changing. Rather than directly asking for feedback and artificially stimulating discussions, brands are taking a step back and allowing opinions to form organically through naturally emerging leaders and voices. The embodiment of this is community blogging, in which brands provide opportunities for consumers to provide personal, long-form feedback and then engage socially around these focal points. Throughout the remainder of 2015, brands should be looking to increase the use of blogs and combine them with social listening tools, in order to act on feedback quicker.
3. Agile Market Research
While this may sound daunting, the concept of the agile research paradigm is surprisingly simple. It is an iterative and adaptive process that uses small teams to incorporate feedback into marketing strategy as quickly as possible. Greenbook predicted this trend in early last year, citing the proliferation of online research and the demands of content marketing as key drivers of this trend.
Now that it is well into 2015, it is clear how the agile paradigm has influenced the role of market research, and will continue to do so in the future. Researchers that do not pay heed to this trend risk being left behind — unable to respond as quickly as needed to fickle consumer demands.
4. Improved Standards
The standard of market research has been improving for a long time and is now at a point where it is possible for companies to understand their consumers’ needs in a holistic manner. Decreasing prices, access to participants, and an increase in research quality has driven this change faster than ever before.
We strive to make sure that our research standards are not only high, but are setting the pace for the industry to follow. Our online research platform is supported by a whole host of features, from full international capabilities to integrated data analysis, and is backed up by a team of experts willing to help with services that range from project management to recruitment and more.
5. Consolidation of Market Research
The last trend that we have noticed emerging is the consolidation of market research. As research becomes easier to conduct and more readily available, the choice for companies has become overwhelming. This fragmentation is leading many to seek a complete, consolidated research solution, whether that is outsourcing research to external providers or working with only one set of research tools.
We are beginning to see some of the negative impact that the proliferation of online marketing has caused. The overwhelming amount of single service providers is flooding the market and causing confusion for many organisations. Our research solution combines all qual and quant, online and mobile tools into one single easy-to-use platform — leading the charge against research fragmentation.
These five trends highlight a bigger shift in the market research industry — the prominence of online market research. As consumers spend an increasing amount of time online, this provides two core benefits. Not only is it is easier to reach a broad community of participants in an online environment, but companies are able to research brand interaction in both online and real-time contexts.