Monday, October 27, 2014

Desktop to Wrist Watch Surveys: The Future of Market Research

When was the last time you recall sitting at your computer with leisure time to web search as you please? Between commuting, longer days at work, squeezing in that workout, and finally eating. It is becoming very uncommon for one to find time to sit down at a computer and search the internet. Minimal leisure Internet time therefore makes reaching potential online survey panelists even more tough to reach.

How is this impacting the data collected from online market research? For traditional online surveys, it seems it is becoming harder and harder to reach preferred data numbers let alone certain target groups. Where does this lead us to and how can we overcome this obstacle?


The most obvious and trending answer brings us to mobile. Allowing users to take abbreviated, reformatted surveys via mobile device is one way to increase sample size and reach what was traditionally called the “general population.” Making the survey-taking experience simplified, convenient, and ready for today’s constant on-the-go consumers will drastically change the current problem of unreachable respondents. In addition to reaching more consumers, mobile has numerous advantages over traditional desktop online surveys. Take, for instance, geolocation capabilities which allow for tailoring of surveys according to the respondent’s location. Or in-store research, allowing customers to actually be in store making tradeoffs and purchases to evaluate choices in the environment we try to replicate online. Qualitative research can be enhanced with mobile devices, allowing respondents to video their shopping experience and take images.

Similarly, smart eyewear has recently come into play within the market research realm. Allowing for even more consumer behavior analysis, this technology will play a large roll in qualitative research in the years to come. Voice capabilities, eye-tracking, geolocation, you name it- these weapons of market research will change the industry!

Both of these alternatives have been discovered and are currently being explored for use. What options could 2015 bring? I believe the visual options have advanced far enough and we now must turn to understanding consumer behavior from a psychological standpoint. How can we measure what consumers really are thinking and understand this down to a neurological level. How does this then interplay with rational vs. emotional decision making models and how can we use this to influence consumers? Will the next generation eyewear include on the fly brain scans? Will the smart watch measure circulating neurotransmitters and predict choice behavior?

Changing times come with changing measures. To remain relevant we must approach this development with open arms and continue to keep looking forward!

Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at j.parker@skimgroup.com.

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