It wasn't until the 1950s that market research became a widely used practice to measure the effects of advertising from print, radio, and, eventually, television. Suddenly, Madison Avenue had a way to track whether their ad campaigns were working. This was a watershed moment, and it gave birth to the modern advertising industry as we know it.
Over time, data meant dollars and companies began to invest high-capital resources into figuring out how to understand their customers. The great race to ultimate attribution still rages to this day.
As we look to more modern times, the internet has disrupted every industry, and market research is no exception. In fact, it could be argued that market research has been one of the single most disrupted industries over time.
Plainly, market research surveys are an extremely effective (cost and otherwise) way to connect with a target audience and to get *real data* from *real customers* in *real time*. Throw in some homegrown algorithmic and predictive statistical methodologies to future-think correlating behaviors; constant product improvement with an intense focus on user experience, and what you have is inBrain.
With technology evolving each over the decades, market research has become increasingly multifaceted – marketers need to understand how customers behave, feel, and think. They need to know how to gather, visualize and interpret data. They must also need to know how to communicate that data to audiences.
By the 2010s, we were in a big attribution-driven market research world of data. Now, a detailed, nuanced understanding of who your customers are and what they want can make or break your business. Taking the time to thoroughly understand your customers via market research is essential to success, especially in highly-competitive industries.
With those statistics in mind, it’s evident that you are at a disadvantage if you aren’t conducting market research to understand your target audience. But simply conducting market research isn’t enough – you have to make sure you are doing it right.
Are we saying that data-driven marketing research is a bad thing? No, of course not. But, like anything else, it has to be done correctly in order to be effective. One of the most significant problems with data-driven market research is that, oftentimes, businesses forget the most important part: the people.
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of numbers and data points, but at the end of the day, your customers are real people with actual wants and needs. It’s essential to remember this when you are conducting market research. Too often, businesses focus on the data and forget about the people.
This is a mistake.
When companies utilize surveys that reduce real people to data points, the results are often inaccurate and misleading. Why? Because people are complex, and they don’t always behave the way you expect them to.
While data is essential, it’s only part of the equation. To truly understand your customer base, you need to talk to them directly. And that means finding the best market research survey methods to gather qualitative data.
As the market research survey market has grown, so have the methods of conducting a research study. However, some methods work better than others. There are risks involved with simply picking a system to collect information from a focus group without knowing who, why, and what you should be doing to obtain insights that matter.
In other words, finding the right marketing research methods can mean the difference between actionable data and wasted budget.
In-person surveying is the oldest method of data collection. Interviews collect lots of detailed information and can lead to an in-depth understanding of a particular customer. On the flip side, this is extremely costly and time-consuming (gathering data from thousands of customers, one at a time). This requires large teams- not to mention sometimes all the data is not needed for effective research.
When you can't reach people in person, conducting target market research via telephone is possible. Telephone interviews are a logical next step, but think of how you feel when you get a phone call from an unknown number.
Do people even pick up those calls anymore? The stats show that perhaps not - market surveys conducted via phone interviews have shown a drop in response rate from 27% in 1997, to 5% in 2015 - and that trend is only accelerating.
Reaching your target audience with mailed market survey content still works. However, mail-in surveys are hit or miss. Sometimes there can be an excellent response when conducting market research via mail-based marketing activities.
But, sometimes, there can be no responses at all. Plus, collecting feedback via mail can offer slow results, and you may not be able to target customers effectively depending on your data quality.
One of the most exciting strategies to catch fire in recent years is online survey target market research. This relatively “new” method of collecting market research data is only about a decade old but has cut costs tremendously and improved response rates for customer feedback.
The most common way to use online market surveys is via mail requests. These online surveys are often hosted on a website - such as the business that is conducting the survey. However, more often than not a third party (i.e. Survey Monkey) is hosting and conducting the market research for your target audience.
With online surveys, low response rates usually come from the amount of effort required from a respondent to engage with the market surveys. For instance:
Mobile Surveys and Mobile Market Research - the newest way to connect a researcher to a real person - are easy and affordable ways to collect customer feedback and a variety of target audience information.
But their secret weapon is that they are incredibly convenient for a respondent to complete. What makes this option best is the ability to adapt in real-time - grabbing a person on the screen they are currently engaging with.
Customer expectations are that companies would conduct focus groups in the most efficient way - 80% of the time people spend browsing the web occurs via their phone- most of that phone time is spent on app usage (compared to mobile web browsers)
Programmatic connections have bridged the gap between the need to rely on in-person or phone interviews and the ability to access millions of people anywhere at any time. Researchers now have control over speed and delivery for the first time. The AdTech industry may have pioneered buying and selling ads faster than ever, but ResTech has gone a step further - turning ad units used for awareness into platforms to deliver insights.
Researchers can learn about consumers’ brand awareness, usage, attitudes, and perceptions with properly-designed market surveys. They can also dig deep into purchase intent with individual customers and gain a competitive advantage in their industry with a low-cost method.
Regardless of how you conduct your target market surveys, one issue exists: there are too many providers and too many researchers producing bad surveys. When survey research respondents are bombarded with market surveys that offer little-to-no actual effective purpose, why should we expect focus groups to respond?
Screen outs are at an all-time high. Why? As an industry, we stopped worrying about the people providing the responses, choosing instead to care more about how many people have the opportunity to see the survey.
What came first - bad market survey inventory or inadequate responses?
Have researchers given up on user experience because they can reach dozens of panels and lookalike audiences and then just extrapolate that information to make an informed decision and deliver results?
Do people who are trained to take surveys even care about the survey research - or do they simply fly through market surveys to take advantage of the incentives?
To regain the power of target market survey research, we need a new way of thinking through the process. We must go back to how it started - with the customer.
When you treat these customers as real people, they will respond with loyal feedback. After all, people who expect to be treated right will treat you the same!
But where do we find these people?
At inBrain, the customer comes first because we view customers as real people. We partner with apps worldwide to deliver their audience-targeted surveys in exchange for in-app currency.
We give apps the control to customize the experience to their users, and we have gamified the experience to allow users to control how they engage. We own and operate our own apps to test all formats daily to ensure real people enjoy target market surveys.
When we provide real people with real insights and real answers, it's no wonder that market survey quality improves. Every market survey designed for a segment of people is delivered to the right customer demographics, and those people would answer honestly.
Imagine - reconciliations go down, and so much waste is immediately eliminated. At inBrain, we are seeing historically low rates of 2-3% on our market surveys - and our partners are using quality feedback to make well-informed business decisions. Imagine if your market survey quality matched audience quality!
What is the catch, you ask?
There is none. It's the power of common decency at work on a digital level. Simply treat people right, and you'll reap the reward that so few are seeing.
At inBrain, we can get you the real people, in real-time, all over the world. These people are willing to fill out your survey. But here's what's required:
With the rise of ResTech, we need the Research part to work on survey quality and the Technology part to target people better. Let’s get rid of the traditional panelist mentality and embrace that research on mobile can improve user experience, reach more people, and improve opt-in ad insights to replace forced advertising exposure.
The days of the traditional panel are over. inBrain has the technology to target real people for your market surveys, and we have the research expertise to deliver quality feedback.
We've built a better way to get survey responses from real people who look like your target audience. It's time to start using market surveys to make well-informed decisions again.
Gain a competitive advantage for your business by using inBrain to get the quality market research you need from real people. If you are ready to improve your survey quality, reach more people, and get the insights you need to make better decisions, signup to be an inBrain partner today. Together, we can return humanity to market research - and bring quality insights back to your business.