The way we go about our daily business has changed significantly over the past 10 years. Technology has changed nearly everything we do from reading mail to delivering business presentations. Likewise, technology has changed marketing research allowing it to become more efficient and agile. The largest gains for market researchers as a result of advances in technology are through the use of social media and the use of ‘big data’.
Embracing social media
Social media is practically unavoidable in modern society where mediums such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have completely expanded the landscape in which marketing research is conducted. Social media provides many benefits for businesses of all sizes but it is particularly valuable for small business marketers. Social media provides an affordable marketing option that allows for significant customer interaction at relatively low cost. However, social media is not a stand-alone tool; it should be integrated with the rest of the businesses digital strategy. By directing traffic to the business website, social media can enhance the overall digital effectiveness.
Twitter paid ads generate leads at one-third the cost of other paid marketing channels. Social media can allow businesses to connect directly to consumers in a way that brands have never done before. According to Social Times, 65% of business owners state that marketplace insight is the most valuable benefit of social media.
The continual survey
Through social media, market researchers are able to continually survey consumers and constantly analyse the collected data. Leading global information and measurement company, Nielsen Social, states that 57% of social media users say that they write product reviews in order to protect other consumers from experiencing bad products or services and nearly 25% write negative product reviews to punish companies. As long as people are talking, market researchers can use social media to continuously collect and analyse the information.
Big Data gets bigger
The huge amount of data readily available both from online and offline methods can allow market researchers the confidence to analyse and formulate accurate strategies. Storage and processing of big data sets is cheap and the advances in technology have allowed for the increased pace of data collection. IBM estimates that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last 2 years alone. Of course, there will be the added requirement to sift through and discard irrelevant data but marketers should feel confident that they are researching from a solid data warehouse.
However, big data can represent a challenge for market research which has been historically based on comparably smaller, point of time data sets. Often companies can be so focussed on the collection of data that they have not considered how to effectively utilise the data. If not analysed properly big data can cause bias in the results, false positives and unwanted complexity.
It’s not all about data – it’s about questions and answers
It is not necessarily the existence of any particular data set that ultimately matters Market research is ultimately commissioned to answer questions and what really matters is the ability to answer these questions. Generally, the findings from big data analysis generate more questions, and those questions tend to be answered by a traditional survey approach. Therefore, as big data increases, we tend to see a parallel growth in the precence and need for ‘small data’ to explore and answer the questions it raises.
Use with care
Technology has clearly had a significant impact on how market research is currently being conducted. According to Nielsen’s Mobile Ratings Report, over 15 million Australians claim access to the internet via smartphones with over 12 million owning a tablet device. The use of social media and big data cannot be underestimated as powerful tools in the marketing research space. However, care needs to be taken to ensure the market researcher doesn’t get drowned by the noise and actually answers the questions required of the research.
Posted by John Gabbedy, Student ID: 98093723 (WordPress Username: JDGABBED)
- Iacobucci,D,2014 Marketing Management (MM4) South Western, Cenegage Learning Mason
- Market Research (2013) Market Research Insights & Business Intelligence, Accessed 14 April 2016 [ONLINE] Available at: http://blog.marketresearch.com/blog-home-page/bid/339928/5-Ways-Technology-Has-Changed-Market-Research
- Social Media Examiner (2014) Social Media for Small Business, Accessed at 14 April 2016 [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-guide-small-businesses/
- Hootsuite (2014) Twitter ads drive leads at one-third the cost of other paid channels, Accessed at 14 April 2016 [ONLINE] Available at: https://blog.twitter.com/2014/hootsuite-twitter-ads-drive-leads-at-one-third-the-cost-of-other-paid-channels
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- Nielsen (2015) Mobile Ratings Report, Accessed 16 April 2016 [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nielsen.com/au/en/press-room/2015/nielsen-mobile-audience-measurement.html