10 best market research tools in 2020
Market research is the mechanism by which brands get a better understanding of their market. It’s a multifaceted discipline that can create as much confusion as it does illumination. The past decade has seen companies accumulating huge volumes of data, but often flounder when it comes to crafting actionable insights from it.
The right tools are needed to make sense of market research data, whatever form it may take. Keep in mind that you don’t even necessarily need to carry out interviews or conduct focus groups to carry out market research. You can also review video footage of 1:1 interviews or examine the social analytics for ad copy in order to glean the insights you need.
With the right tools at their disposal, companies can make market research more time and cost-effective while also making it easier to navigate GDPR and the ever-shifting landscape of privacy laws.
Data visualisation tools like Tableau
Just because you have terabytes of market research data at your disposal doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting an optimal return on your investment of time, effort and capital. This is where data storytelling comes in, you need to be able to make sense of huge swathes of data at a glance and this can only be done by having the context and full visualisation of the data you are trying to interpret. This can be a problem without the right data visualisation tools. Fortunately, Business Intelligence tools like Tableau make it easy to interpret market research data in colourful and highly customisable graphs and charts.
What’s more, it’s easy to share market research data with your workforce. Because market research can have implications for all departments, their metrics and their KPIs, this is highly advantageous. It helps put research data in the context of departmental goals as well as the bigger picture.
SurveyMonkey and other survey tools
Whatever your market research strategy, there’s a good chance that surveys play a part in it. What simpler way is there to find out what your target audience thinks about you than by asking them?
Tools like SurveyMonkey allow you to create and share fully customisable surveys for free. What’s more, it also has a range of scalable paid options which include provision for sample selection, data analysis and bias elimination. SurveyMonkey even offers outsourced brand management and marketing solutions to small business clients.
However you choose to make and distribute your surveys, there are ways you can make sure you get the most out of them.
Use Qualtrics Panels for guaranteed responses
A survey has little value on its own. It’s the responses that provide the data from which you can form the meaningful insights you need. And guaranteeing responses, even with a robust social media presence, can feel a bit too much like trusting in luck for some. Qualtrics Panels, however, can provide users with access to hundreds of thousands of opt-in survey respondents in the B2B and B2C space. All respondents are already vetted and qualified so you can be assured of a high volume of meaningful, high-quality responses.
GDPR compliance tools for surveys
In the post-GDPR landscape, there’s no such thing as being too careful — even if you’re confident in knowing how the legislative changes will affect your business. When you conduct market research surveys, you unwittingly risk a lapse in GDPR compliance. Fortunately, there are automated tools that make it quick and easy to create GDPR compliant surveys through methods such as anonymisation, processing restriction, consent questions and fair processing measures.
If you’ve implemented the above survey tools but still received lacklustre responses, perhaps you could take steps to make your surveys more effective. Typeform is a cloud-based survey management platform that specialises in the building of optimal online forms and surveys. Its suite of capabilities eclipses those offered by SurveyMonkey with a range of functionalities for survey design, configuration and distribution. It even has its own analytics tools within the same suite.
Finished forms can be embedded and distributed in a number of ways such as on-site pop-ups, push notifications, emails or social media links. There are even native integrations for MailChimp and Google Sheets to make sharing results easy.
Video coding tools
Video is a great way to capture live interview data and help research teams to create a permanent record of everything that is communicated by respondents. However, one of the inherent problems when working with video is that it isn’t searchable in the same way that a text document is. At least… not without the right tools.
Video coding software allows users to make videos searchable by keywords or phrases so that they don’t need to waste time searching for the exact part of the video they need. This makes for quicker and easier access to meaningful insights within video footage.
Mass Qual- the new trend for video analysis in 2020
If you’ve been following the latest trends in market research, you’ve likely already heard of Mass Qual. Mass Qual is the end result of a number of evolving technologies including facial recognition and sentiment analysis. Because it can be applied to online video focus groups, it allows researchers to deliver insights at scale — even for high volumes of respondents. This means that researchers no longer need to sacrifice quality for quantity.
Respondents will typically share more information verbally than in writing, which makes Mass Qual an extremely effective tool for gleaning quality data. When integrated into online surveys they can help to ensure that both “hard” and “soft” data are mined for valuable insights even when dealing with big sample sizes.
Speaking of searchability… market researchers (whether partners or internal) tend to collect a lot of video and audio data. So much so, in fact, that it can be extremely difficult to mine all these hours of footage for insights. Even if the content of the qualitative data itself is high value, the lack of searchability can create a barrier that makes it borderline inaccessible, especially when dealing with larger sample sizes.
Transcription services are an affordable and scalable way to get actionable insights from large volumes of video and audio data. Many services provide different kinds of transcripts. For example, detailed notes may suit market researchers best as the transcript type cuts away any irrelevant filler words and ensures everything is on-topic, meaning you get the exact data you want. Many transcription services are also industry-specific, so they’ll know exactly what market researchers need from their transcripts, and don’t battle with industry jargon making them a helpful solution.
Call recording software
Along with exit surveys, In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) are the bread and butter of market research. And if you carry out IDIs over the phone, call recording software is an essential investment.
It can be implemented over both PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or VoIP (Voice over IP) frameworks. It collects and stores call data automatically in a digital audio file which can later be retrieved, played back and shared to make the call data from recordings readily accessible to all. Again, transcription services may be useful in conjunction with call recording software to create better searchability of call data.
You don’t always need to engage customers to collect market research data from them. In fact, they may be telling you a great deal every time they log into and browse your website. Their behaviour online can tell you about which products are of the most interest to them, what sort of content they engage with and even potential barriers to conversion.
Google Analytics is a free and easy-to-use suite with an intuitive dashboard that helps you to get easy access to useful insights. There are a great many other analytics suites available, but Google’s free tool should be more than capable of meeting the analytical needs of most market research teams.
CRM platforms are useful tools for all kinds of business operations. Sales teams use them all the time to track the customer journey through their pipeline and ensure continuity of service to the customer. But there are myriad ways in which they can be effectively leveraged by market research teams. They can be used to identify market trends, gauge customer preferences, test the feasibility of new products within your existing market, carry out competitor analysis and even anticipate future consumer perspectives.
Sometimes the most effective tool is the one you had in your inventory all along. Looking at your CRM in a different way can be a valuable source of market research data, without additional expenditure.
Interview support services
In their simplest form, interview support services can help to make sure that you’re asking all the right questions, prevent you from asking leading questions and fine-tune your interview processes.
But in the technologically led 2020s, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. They can also help you to wring every drop of meaning communicated in interviews.
A transcription service can give you easy access to what an interviewee has told you in words. But what about all the other information communicated through nuances of body language, eye movement, gesture and vocal inflection? Remember that 93% of all communication is non-verbal. Specialist interview support services that leverage advanced technology can be a goldmine of insights.
There are all kinds of specialists leveraging a range of biometric, neuroscientific and even VR technologies to deliver a range of insight-driven services from mobile ethnography to behavioural economics models.
Finally, learning about what interests and excites your target audience is crucial to market research. It influences everything from the design of new marketing copy to the development of new products.
BuzzSumo is a powerful search tool to help users understand what’s popular among their target audiences. Its primary use is for content marketing, informing strategies that keep content useful and relevant. It can ensure that new content is attuned to the needs and interests of the audience, thereby ensuring widespread and meaningful engagement with blog posts, vlogs, whitepapers, eBooks and other content.
Marketing departments with their sights set on virality can use it to get a stronger understanding of what enthuses and excites their audience, helping them to increase their chances of social sharing and genuine engagement.
It can also help users to track and analyse the content that their competitors create to ensure that theirs delivers greater value to users. It can send real-time alerts when topics are trending. It can even help brands find out what the social influencers who matter to their target audience are saying.
There you have it. A useful list of digital tools which can help businesses of all shapes and sizes to harness their market research data and gain maximum insight from it. After all, without the tools to provide context and quality, large volumes of data can prove nothing more than a big headache.