The Best Market Research Methods in 2020

market research methods

Market research is a field that is constantly changing — an ever-adapting group working to understand what modern-day customers are looking for. There are a wide variety of methods available for use when your company is looking for the most useful information from consumers.

However, there is one important factor to keep in mind. When it comes to research, sometimes it is a question of quality, not quantity. Pulling in thousands of pieces of data is only helpful if you know what to make of that data or how best to put it to use. Ultimately, it’s important to master a few select methods in order to beat your competitors and achieve the best results for your clients. Here are four of the top methods for you to master.

Biometrics

With the rise of technology benefitting all industries, it’s no surprise that market research is adopting many new biometrics technologies. These have revolutionised the way the industry understands consumer behaviour and has allowed more insight into how people consume. But what are biometrics and how does the market research industry use them?

Biometrics is being used to understand how people physiologically react to websites, stimuli, or experiences. This is making it easier for businesses to understand their consumers and tailor to their needs. Here are some of the different kinds of biometrics being used:

Eye tracking

With biometric eye tracking, market researchers can see the way people look at new stimuli. For example, with websites or app design, where consumers’ eyes are drawn can be tracked and insights can be drawn from this behaviour with follow up questions. It can also be helpful for tracking in-store displays.

Galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate

With this method, participants are attached to sensors that track changes in sweat gland activity. This shows any variations in the participant’s emotional state to help understand how people react to designs, ideas and settings. For more accurate results, tracking heart rates can be beneficial. For example, if market researchers are looking to find out more about how consumers will react to a new app design, they can collect GSR and heart rate measurements and then ask appropriate follow-up qualitative questions in an interview setting.

Voice and facial recognition

Voice and facial recognition are being used by market researchers to get the most immediate and natural responses from participants. This software is making it easy to track people’s emotions. It can help track bigger samples of consumers and can ensure that people’s interview responses are aligning with their immediate reactions — meaning data is much more accurate.

What are the benefits of biometrics?

Eye trackers, face sensors and GSR can all assist with tracking the most accurate physiological responses of participants. There are many insights that can be gleaned from people’s initial bodily responses and this means businesses have a better idea of what their consumers want. Furthermore, paired with follow up interviews, this can ensure that market researchers are leaving no stone unturned as they can get better explanations from participants directly.

Another of the main benefits to biometrics is the fact that this makes it even easier to gain the insights you need from an even larger sample size. This means that results are more accurate and businesses can use this data accordingly.

Social media listening

We don’t need to tell you that everyone is on some form of social media. Social media is integrated into nearly all parts of our lives, and one large way that it is used is for people to share their real-world opinions, beliefs, and thoughts. This provides a well of knowledge for market researchers to draw from.

Social media listening tools give you the ability to track the interests of consumers and connect them through their posts. One example of this is the tracking of brand mentions and what users are sharing about the brand. Because social media posts are not in response to a research question or survey question, the information can often be an accurate representation of their true thoughts and feelings.

To draw real, usable data from social media listening, it is absolutely critical to invest in the right tools.

Personal interviews

Personal interviews involve a face to face question and answer session using open-ended questions. We’ve already touched on how they can be used when paired with biometrics, but having in-depth interviews with participants without that can be helpful too.

This type of conducted market research offers data that is more subjective than the data offered by in-person or online surveys. The results aren’t always the most reliable since they don’t have a large enough representation, so it’s harder to make generalisations about your customer base as a whole. However, the data gathered can provide very useful information about the attitudes and reactions of many of your customers. They also allow the respondent to offer a deeper answer surpassing surface-level data.

In order to best analyse the data offered by personal interviews, you’ll need to be aware of the tools and market research techniques being used. A trusted transcriber for the interviews is important to draw the most accurate picture of the conversation, allowing you to understand the connections and implications of the data you receive. In the way of techniques, be sure to avoid using leading questions, weak questions, or a poor interviewer, all of which could leave you with fruitless results.

Focus groups

This is a tried and true industry staple. And it’s one that market researchers can’t afford to ignore.

What are the benefits of focus groups?

Questionnaires and surveys offer insights, but the information is limited to only the questions and answer choices offered, nothing more. In contrast, focus groups allow tangents to branch off from the original questions, to explore a wider range of related subjects and answer questions that you may not have thought to include in a survey or questionnaire. This can mean that part of the discussion could stray from the main purpose, but it also means that unexpected relations and input can be derived from your target market.

How do you conduct a focus group well?

One critical element to consider when utilising focus groups is the transcription. A poor transcription of the conversation can detract from the ability to draw important insights and connections from the focus group conversation.

In order to perfect the running of the focus group as a market research method, it’s best to record these sessions and get high-quality transcripts of all of your market research in a detailed notes form. Transcripts written as detailed notes are condensed, removing filler words and fluff to create a to-the-point final project focused on the main points. That’s not to say that information will be removed — just that you won’t have to sit through natural elements of conversation like ums and errs, false start sentences, or repetition.

This is different from a verbatim transcript, which will include every sound and word spoken. This type of transcript has its own appeal, allowing you to quote exactly what was said and a full and complete idea of what went on in the focus group. Some transcription services also specialise in creating transcripts for the market research industry, meaning they’ll know exactly what data you need.

Working remotely

However, in the current climate, interviews and focus groups are hard to achieve in person. Technology has come far enough to eliminate this problem though, as interviews can still be conducted remotely via phone calls or video calls. This means you can still record the information given by the participants and even gauge their facial expressions which, as we’ve touched on, can help better understand the consumer.

There are now multiple apps that can help you with this, as long as participants have access to a computer and an internet connection. Many other industries are utilising apps such as:

These apps allow for one-on-one video meetings, as well as in large groups, so both personal interviews and focus groups are possible to conduct.

Utilising technology to get data

There’s no doubt that the way data is being collected is revolutionising market research, especially with the developments in biometrics technology. And this technology means even more consumers can be reached — making for more accurate data.

In the current climate, collecting data has been made harder — no contact means more technological solutions are needed, such as video conferencing tools. But this doesn’t mean biometrics tools need to be completely left behind. For example, eye-tracking software can still be utilised with participants and follow up questions can be asked over video conferencing calls in order to glean the qualitative insights needed. Being able to track these kinds of physiological responses on a large scale is changing the way market researchers gain information and is vital, especially when presented in the right ways — which we’ll get touch on in the next section.

In fact, in our own research around the industry — Preparing for the future of market research — we found that about 90% of market researchers claimed they use video more frequently than they did 3 years ago.

Market Research Method Use

From the graph above, you can see that a massive 93% of market researchers use online focus groups using video, demonstrating that this method is completely achievable in order to get your clients the insights they need, especially right now. In-depth video interviews have also been carried out by 87% of market researchers asked, which is another way you can be getting the data you need.

This research just highlights how market researchers can’t afford to be left behind by only using traditional methods — there’s no doubt that using tech to your advantage will allow you to gain more effective insights.

Using the right techniques to glean quality insights

While these methods are all important to master, you also need to consider the trends that are helping further these methods as well. Namely, Mass Qual and data storytelling.

Mass Qual

This 2020 trend pulls together qualitative research and quantitative research techniques. It aims to push further into consumer behaviour and opinions with surveys and interactions. It makes use of modern-day technological advances such as video capabilities, sentiment analysis, and facial recognition to convey insights that can be used for product service and to better understand your consumer base.

Storytelling

Storytelling allows you to share primary research and data in an engaging format. It pulls the information gathered from the data and arranges it into a series of steps, showing you what to do next. Sharing facts and figures is a sure way to lose the attention of the majority of your consumers. The way you present information to clients is vital to get right. Sharing stories is a way to grab and keep their attention, and to keep your story in their minds.

Perfecting your market research methods

The key to 2020 market research is perfecting the methods that work. Using sales data and market research allows you to offer the very best customer service. In order to best utilise the data you are receiving, how you conduct your research and the tools that you use to do so are key, as well as the techniques you apply.

When creating the story and foundation of your brand, every word matters. The right transcription service ensures that you don’t miss anything important and that you don’t have to be present at every discussion to get a full idea of what your consumers are saying. Make your job easier by investing in the right transcription services for you and your brand.

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