Social media and the digital sphere have taken the marketing world by storm. We can now infer buying patterns from looking at web traffic and interact with our customers 24/7 through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We can also conduct target surveys and receive feedback directly through social media and web platforms. For market researches this is a step out of the dark and into a much brighter world, however this brighter world will still need traditional market research to full its fire.
Market research through social media saves both time and money. You no longer need to plan months ahead to schedule your focus group, as your social media followers are your focus group. You can look at your followers as a whole or break them into segments based on behavior, interests and demographics. People write reviews about products and services daily on sites such as Facebook, Yelp or even Twitter. As well with the abundance of big data, you can easily set up a hashtag or keyword listening tool and be able to gain instant access to when a consumer is talking about your company or product online.1 Tools such as Google Analytics can give you great insight on your customer, from where the user is, what browser the are using and even what they were looking at on your site. However big data must be taken with a grain of salt, as it is easy for online users to create false accounts and misrepresent themselves.
When it comes to questionnaires, going the digital route allows for faster responses and better customer insight. “Much more personal insights were volunteered by respondents in the online survey than was revealed in the face-to-face interviews. A level of detail and many more “honest” attitudes were revealed by the online survey than had been obtained using traditional market research techniques.”2 One can easily set up a survey online and either email it out to their targeted mailing lists or have it embedded onto their website to gain feedback from visitors.
Lead Data Scientifst Preriit Souda believes when it comes to market research you can stick with the past or grow with the future. “While some market researchers will transform themselves into data scientists or insight consultants, others will be left behind in a shrunken industry. Insight consultants will be a metamorphosis between traditional market researchers and consultants. They will decide on data sources to use from the many available and give appropriate weightage, be analytically qualified to mine this complexly linked data, and then consult client to solve their problems.”3