For most of its history, marketing research has followed a series of steps in collecting information. But social media is changing the game and flipping these rules on their heads.
Now, more than ever before, marketers are able to react and adapt to consumer behavior rather than predict it. Think of it this way: the next time you’re sick, you don’t need a doctor to tell you that you’re sick or what kinds of treatments could alleviate your symptoms.
You can simply look up your illness online and read about over-the-counter remedies that might work for you.
The most valuable thing doctors bring to the table isn’t their ability to diagnose it’s their ability to prescribe medicine based on your individual needs in response to what they learn about your illness.
Likewise, today’s marketers don’t need to guess at what consumers want anymore: they can simply listen closely and respond accordingly by developing new products or campaigns that will win people over.
To illustrate this transformation, I’ll take a look at how conventional market research operates alongside how social media is allowing new ways for businesses to engage with customers on the fly
|1. Understand the Fundamentals: Conventional marketing research is built on established principles that guide data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
|2. Ethical Considerations: Adhere to ethical standards when conducting research to ensure participant privacy and data integrity.
|3. Regulatory Awareness: Familiarize yourself with regulations and guidelines that govern marketing research practices in your industry or region.
|4. Balancing Methods: Combine traditional research techniques with digital tools to gather comprehensive insights from diverse sources.
|5. Data Quality Matters: Focus on the accuracy and reliability of data collected to draw meaningful conclusions and make informed decisions.
|6. Interpret with Context: Analyze research findings within the context of your business goals and market dynamics for actionable insights.
|7. Iterative Process: Embrace a cyclical approach to research, refining methods based on outcomes to continually enhance your strategies.
|8. Communication is Key: Effectively communicate research results to stakeholders, translating complex data into actionable recommendations.
|9. Stay Updated: Keep up with advancements in research methodologies and technologies to stay relevant in an evolving landscape.
1. Identify The Decision
First, you need to identify the decision that needs to be made. This is where it all starts. The question is, “What do you want to know?” If we assume that a company’s goal is to sell more products or services.
Then a good place to start your research would be with the company’s sales team. Your next step would be identifying who else will have an interest in this research as well as their interests, needs, and concerns about the decision being made.
Once you’ve identified these stakeholders, it’s time for your next task: determining their context. What factors might impact their perspective? Who else might have input into this decision or have something they’d like included in it?
How can these factors affect those involved in making this decision (e.g., outside competitors)?
You’ll also want to identify any constraints on what can be done here such as budget restrictions and timelines for the completion of tasks/projects associated with this particular project (both internal & external).
Exploring the dynamics of marketing research in the modern age? Discover how marketing research at the speed of texting can provide real-time insights for your campaigns and strategies.
2. Create The Research Objectives
The research objectives are the goals of your research. They should be clearly defined and measurable, so you can evaluate whether or not you have achieved them at the end of your project.
Research objectives should also be realistic, specific, and time-bound (that is, they must have a deadline). They shouldn’t be too ambitious or too broad; this will make it difficult for you to decide which subgoals are most important.
Finally, there should only be one main objective per project otherwise it will become impossible to prioritize between different aims and determine where exactly their impact lies.
3. Explore Alternatives And Identify The Research Approach
The next step is to identify the approach to your research that best addresses the need. This is often a matter of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods. If you are looking at a product or service, check out what other companies have done in this space.
If you’re planning an event, look at how other people have pulled it off in the past. Think about what has worked for them and why it might not work for you or vice versa!
Once you’ve figured out how much time and money you can devote to your project, set goals and timelines for yourself based on those constraints. It’s easy to get lost trying everything under the sun when there’s no end date on your project (and no budget).
So choose something small that will give tangible results in three months or less for example: “I want 10% more people coming through my door after six months as compared with last year.”
Delve into the intricate interplay of creativity and data in the realm of business. Our article on the art and science of marketing research offers insights into the fusion of artistic intuition and empirical rigor.
4. Determine The Information Type, Content, And Form
What kind of information do you need? The answer to this question will help determine the type and content of information that you are going to collect.
For example, if your business is trying to improve its customer service experience, then basic demographic information like age and gender may not help solve the problem.
Instead, you could collect feedback on specific aspects such as customer service experience or the quality of your products after purchase.
What content should you use? In addition to determining what kinds of information are necessary for your research project, you must consider how best to present this data so it is most useful for making decisions about your business.
Depending on your goals for collecting and analyzing data from social media sources, there may be other questions related specifically to content creation (e.g., how many words/characters should each post contain?).
5. Specify Information Timing And Location
You should also specify what type of information you are looking for. The timing of your research will impact the results, resources available, and cost of the research. In addition, it will determine quality.
For example, if you want to know how people feel about a new product or service before it is released into the market then focus group surveys are appropriate.
Focus groups allow you to get immediate feedback from consumers regarding their likes and dislikes as well as provide them with an opportunity to offer suggestions on how things could be improved or changed before going into production.
However, if you want information about why customers use certain products over others then online surveys are more suitable.
Because they can be set up quickly without having to wait until all participants have arrived at one location at a specific time which would make using focus groups difficult if not impossible (eMarketer).
6. Define Data Collection Methods And Procedures
The next key step is to define the research approach. This includes defining the data collection methods, procedures, and techniques for conducting market research.
It may sound complicated, but you must write down what you want your team to do to collect their findings for this study. For example:
- What kinds of tools will they use?
- How long should they spend doing the work?
- How many people are on your team?
Uncover cost-effective methods for extracting valuable insights. Learn why you don’t need to pay a lot for marketing research and explore budget-friendly strategies to gain a competitive edge.
7. Manage Contact Methods And Procedures With Respondents Or Other Sources Of Information
The next step in the process is to manage contact methods and procedures. This means planning how you’ll contact your respondents or other sources of information regularly, as well as how you’ll gather data from them.
You also need to decide which methods are best for a given situation, and when these methods should be used. Finally, it’s important to continually update these plans based on feedback from colleagues or clients about what’s working well and what isn’t so great at getting responses.
To maximize efficiency while minimizing costs (and avoid losing respondents!), certain guidelines should be followed when conducting any type of research study:
Be clear about who you’re targeting with each particular campaign (for example, if it’s adolescents then don’t send out surveys through Instagram)
Have an active social media presence where people can interact with you regularly (this could mean setting up an account just for this purpose)
8. Specify Data Analysis Procedures
Data analysis is the process of transforming data into information. The purpose of data analysis is to provide answers to the questions that you have asked during the survey or interviews. There are different types of analyses and each one serves a different purpose:
These are used to summarize your data in tables, charts, and graphs so that you can see how your sample compares with the population as a whole.
The most common descriptive statistics include means, medians, percentiles, and standard deviations (for continuous variables) or frequencies (for categorical variables).
You may also want to look at graphical representations such as boxplots, histograms, or scatterplots; all of these show where particular values fall within your distribution of scores on a variable
These allow you to make inferences about larger populations than just those who have participated in your study (e.g., salespeople in New York City).
Inferential statistics tests only allow us to say that there’s an association between two variables; we cannot say what causes what! If we’re interested in causal relationships between variables then we need experimental research designs
Segmentation is the key to understanding diverse consumer preferences. Delve into the significance of segmentation in marketing with our article on the importance of market segmentation and enhance your targeting strategies.
9. Assess Potential Costs And Benefits Of Research Proposals (Research Portfolio Management)
Cost-benefit analysis is a method used to evaluate whether an investment in some activity will be worth it or not.
It’s a way to measure the probability of achieving a certain goal, taking into account how much money you’ll need to spend and what kind of return on investment (ROI) you might expect from it.
Return on investment (ROI) is a financial ratio that measures the profitability of an investment over time by calculating its net present value (NPV).
It’s a calculation based on comparing how much money comes in from an investment with how much was spent making that same investment;
For example, if you invest $1 million in creating a new product, but then sell enough copies at $2 each for total sales revenue of $10 million within five years, your ROI would be 500%. In other words: “How much more profit did I make than what I lost?”
The cost-benefit ratio compares the time spent working with something versus its monetary value the amount earned per hour worked.
If you had two jobs where one earned $200 per hour while the other only made $150 per hour but required three fewer hours every week due to both less training time needed.
As well as less commute distance traveled each day due driving there being easier without traffic jams then which job should someone take?
10. Plan For The Efficient Allocation Of Resources In Conducting Research (Project Management)
When it comes to planning, the best way to start is by establishing an overall project plan. This will set milestones and deadlines for your team, as well as establish a budget, schedule, and resource requirements. It’s also important to have a monitoring plan in place.
So you can keep tabs on how things are going along the way but don’t get too bogged down in this step! You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with details before you even begin the research process itself.
Numerous factors can cause delays when conducting conventional market research:
Participants not showing up for appointments; participants canceling sessions at the last minute; technical problems with equipment or software which cause delays in data collection etc.
These issues could potentially ruin your entire research project if left unaddressed so make sure you’ve got contingency plans in place from the very beginning of any new study!
Another thing worth noting here is that traditional market researchers often rely on face-to-face interactions with consumers via focus groups or surveys (or both).
With social media however where people live now, there’s no need for these expensive methods anymore.
Since many platforms offer built-in options like hashtags which allow brands and companies alike access directly into consumers’ mindsets without having first met them face-to-face!
Crafting impactful surveys requires finesse and know-how. Learn how to create engaging opinion polls with our guide on writing opinion polls for social engagement, and harness the power of insightful audience interaction.
For traditional research, the most important rule is to understand that it is a complex process. Before you can begin researching, you need to know what information you are seeking and what kind of research method will work best for your project.
And once you have collected this data, then you need to analyze it to make sense of what has been found before sharing your results with others.
The key takeaway from all this should be that good grammar is a cornerstone of effective communication. It’s not a useless relic from a bygone era, and it should never be treated as such.
In today’s world, when so much communication happens online, it’s easy to forget the power of language but knowing the ins and outs of your grammatical choices still gives you a huge advantage in both the written and spoken word;
It still affects how well your message reaches your audience, and how willing they are to listen. If you’re stuck on the idea that good grammar is an outdated concern of the past, let me leave you with one final thought:
If your spelling and grammar are so poor that no one can understand what you’re saying, what’s the point of speaking at all?
Here are some additional resources to explore for further insights into marketing research and related topics:
Ethical Considerations in Marketing Research: Delve into the ethical dimensions of marketing research and gain a deeper understanding of the principles that guide responsible research practices.
Regulations and Ethics in Marketing Research: Learn about the regulations and ethical guidelines that shape the landscape of marketing research, ensuring transparency and fairness.
The Power of Traditional Marketing in the Digital Age: Discover how traditional marketing strategies maintain their relevance and influence even in today’s digital era, offering unique advantages for brands.
Got questions about marketing research? We’ve got answers!
What is the role of ethics in marketing research?
Ethics play a pivotal role in marketing research by ensuring that data collection, analysis, and interpretation are conducted in a morally sound and responsible manner, protecting the rights and privacy of participants.
How can I navigate the regulations surrounding marketing research?
To navigate marketing research regulations effectively, it’s essential to stay informed about legal requirements, data protection laws, and industry standards, ensuring compliance while conducting research.
How does traditional marketing hold value in the digital age?
Traditional marketing methods, such as print media and direct mail, maintain value in the digital age by offering tangible and localized engagement, complementing digital strategies and reaching diverse audiences.
What are some ethical dilemmas commonly faced in marketing research?
Ethical dilemmas in marketing research can involve issues like obtaining informed consent, maintaining participant anonymity, and accurately representing findings without bias.
How can marketers balance traditional and digital strategies effectively?
Balancing traditional and digital marketing strategies involves understanding the strengths of each approach and creating an integrated marketing mix that resonates with the target audience across multiple channels.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.