For any executive who has conducted consumer research, they might be too familiar with a bulky excel sheet that makes its way into their inbox. Months or weeks spent in planning and executing a research, segway into a much shorter period of data analysis and insight study, which certainly is a part of the process, where more time should be spent.
Today, online quantitative research is the fastest growing sector within the US$70+ billion global market research industry. And yet, little has changed in the past decade in terms of how online research providers recruit, engage and manage their audiences. In fact, across the market research supply chain, panelists (i.e. consumers who participate in online surveys) are often the most abused, as they’re made to endure lengthy (25+ minute) surveys with poor user experience and mediocre rewards. Ignoring user experience can result in poor data quality due to the respondents’ abandoning, randomizing or speeding through surveys.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape virtual-first life, research is pivoting at a quicker pace. It has pushed many research buyers to rethink the ways they invest in market research solutions, as well as which use-cases they are applying market research to. For example, purely qualitative or multimodal studies became almost impossible in the early days of the pandemic, and so we at Milieu saw a surge in the more traditional buyers embracing online methods. We also saw a decrease in some of the heavier and more expensive use-cases, such as hefty brand trackers and segmentation studies, which were replaced by a long-tail of bite-sized but fast turnaround behavioural studies.
The pandemic brought about a rapid shift in consumer behaviour and attitudes. As a result, many businesses realized they needed to collect new data to understand these shifts and how they might be affecting customer purchase behaviours.
For far too long, buying market research solutions has been a tedious and expensive endeavor, accessible only to companies with hefty budgets or those with the means to hire data or research talent. This model has disproportionately benefited large corporations, making survival for smaller businesses and organizations an uphill battle. And in a post Covid world, it is imperative to make market research solutions more accessible to level the playing field. Anecdotally, I saw a lot of small businesses close down throughout the pandemic. While some of those may have been based on models that simply couldn’t survive in a post-Covid world, I believe that with the right data, some of those businesses may have been able to make decisions sooner to help them find ways to survive. Be it through leaner marketing, new revenue streams or finding ways to pivot.
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Image source: MartechAsia