Monday, August 13, 2012

Why refusing social media research is a risk

A recently published press release by Gartner on "communication by social media" made me think about market research and its positioning opportunities in the future.

The prediction that within the next two years “responding to inquiries via social media channels will be the new minimum level of response expected” also has implications for our industry, regardless of whether this will come true 1:1 or not. As critical communication between consumers and brands on social media channels is growing, these channels will gain significance for market research purposes.

Although we all perceive an increase in methodologies and approaches embracing changes in communications behavior among consumers (MROCs, Big Data Analysis, Social Media Analysis to name a few) most of qualitative and quantitative methods used today are traditional.

If social media communication will extend to the amount predicted, this probably will have to change.

If refusing communication via social media is risky for brands, what about refusing social media research?

For marketing, finding the right way of responding to consumers’ social engagement obviously is a challenge. The learning curve of those who do so is still very steep and a lot of effort comes from learning by doing. The same is true for market research. So all we will have to do is to keep on probing around and learning from our experience?

Maybe this is not as easy as it looks like… 

Historically, we think in products and MR-services from most of the vendors come along as products (with a lot of “TM”-extensions). This is not suitable for social media research anymore due to tremendously fast change of technology and behavior. Maybe it is good to use a product for customer satisfaction measurement, but for social media research? I am not sure... Whenever somebody is turning up with a finished social media research product I would be skeptical…

Furthermore we try to focus too much on tools, that we know from former times. Mainly quantitative (but also qualitative) research should notice that the social media world is moving on and traditional online research - especially the kind that is still using forms and questionnaires of face to face research - has to be replaced by more innovative approaches.

Maybe it is a good idea to learn from each other in order to benefit from each other’s experience with the new MR toolkit. And I know a good place to do so.

Join us this fall at The Market Research Event 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. For more about this year's program and “The New MR Tolkit”-session, download the agenda.

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Today's guest post is from Christian Dössel (@olympiamilano). Christian is Senior Research Director at MM-Eye, a market research and research consulting firm in Hamburg / Germany. He has worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other advertising, strategy and market research agencies helping clients from industries such as finance, transport and logistics, telecommunication and entertainment to understand consumers through market research and to increase implementation excellence. He will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. If you'd like to join him, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

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