Understanding the Value of Real-time Market Research
By Chelsea Varney on July 12th 2017Read this article on our full site
Market research gives organizations valuable insights into their industry, products and customers. Find out how social data plays a part.
Market research has become the bedrock of organizations.
It gives marketers valuable insights into their industry, products, competitors and customers. The results from market research are then used to inform business decisions, fine-tune strategy and help to focus resources. However, these insights are often retrospective and not conjunctive to proactive research methods.
Real-time market research can ensure you keep your finger on the pulse of your industry.
Traditional market research
There are two main areas of market research, quantitive research and qualitative research.
Quantitative research – focuses on the numbers. It provides the researcher with statistics and figures that are typically gathered through surveys and questionnaires.
Qualitative research – looks beyond the numbers to figure out the opinions of the research group. These are collated through focus groups and questionnaires.
When these types of research are conducted in-house or by a research firm to answer specific questions, this is deemed as primary research. Its aim is to answer questions that would only be relevant to your queries.
In contrast, secondary market research is the method of using completed studies to apply to your own results. However, these can often be too broad for your exact company needs and therefore hard to apply to your business decisions.
The case for real-time market research
Traditional research techniques should not be discounted – having a wide variety of sources allows for a rich data set. There are, however, downsides to traditional methods.
- Surveys and questionnaires are often conducted from past experiences and interactions with an organization. This can mean that data can be deemed out of date pretty quickly.
- Traditional market research is time-consuming, especially when analyzing large data sets.
- These research methods don’t allow for flexibility.
This is where real-time research really comes into its own.
It can be conducted throughout the entire buyer journey and adapted quickly to map trends. Gathering data from online resources such as social platforms, forums and news sources allows for an unprompted overview of your research topic, you are getting those crucial real-time consumer insights in just minutes.
With real-time market research, you can collect thousands of mentions around your brand, industry, competitors or any chosen topic and still be granular in your analysis by looking at individual conversations or certain demographic groups.
Social analytics sits between the two research areas of quantitative and qualitative methods and compliments both. There are concerns about the credibility of social analytics amongst analysts however, this is true of many research methods.
Tips for conducting real-time research
When conducting market research with social intelligence it’s important to enter the process with an open mind. You should not go in trying to get the data to fit your hypothesis instead, be broad in your initial approach and then focus on the trends that emerge and adapt your methods to fit.
Don’t look at social data in a vacuum, apply it to other data sets.
Traditional market research methods, and both primary and secondary sources can be used to support or contradict theories. The more data in the research mix the more accurate your data will become.
Communicate your finding across the organization. Market research stats that are stuck in reports and dashboards are not always acted upon. Visualizing insights through command centers allows for executives to see real-time conversations and make quick business decisions.
Market research is only one use case for social data.
Brands can also use it across the organization to strengthen their brands reputation, manage crises and improve customer service. Make sure not to get stuck in one area but to use social analytics holistically.