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Market Research: evolving with the digital age

Technology, challenges and innovation in data collection methods

February 10th 2016, by louisa

The market research sector is growing at a phenomenal rate. It is worth more than £3 billion annually in the UK alone.

But the sector is not simply growing; the technologies it relies on are evolving too. Over the past few years, market research has seen some rapid technology development as it transforms for the digital age.

Online and mobile surveys

Technology has played a key role in market research for a very long time. Online surveys were introduced in the mid-1990s and since then the industry has used technology to not only speed up the overall research process, but also make it simpler and more cost effective for clients.

Today, mobile technology is playing a significant role. People are more connected than ever before and primarily using mobiles to engage. And the sector is embracing this trend. Mobile surveys, for instance, allow participants to complete the survey whenever it’s convenient, no matter where they are.

Using technology to better understand customers

Innovation is becoming increasingly important to our clients; they recognise that it has key role to play in everything from methodology and data collection to driving sustainable practices. Examples of innovative market research include monitoring social media to get a better understanding of customers’ likes, attitudes and behaviours. We are already helping a number of our clients doing this.

The challenges ever-evolving technology presents

However, new technologies bring with them new challenges. Firstly, technology has enabled new competitors to enter the market, companies that have previous had no focus on market research. These software companies are leveraging their technology expertise to produce data faster and at a lower cost. This is creating more competition, which makes it harder for traditional market research companies to grow.

But clients expect new innovative ways of data collection: they want data to be more reliable and for it to be available sooner. Traditional companies cannot afford to stall. If they fail to innovate, new entrants will eat up their share of the market.

Finally, the digital age brings with it research participant concerns over privacy and consent. Participants expect their information to be kept safe and to only be used for the purpose that it was intended.

Despite the challenges, market research practices and techniques will continue to evolve to keep pace with the increasingly rapid technological developments that will, ultimately, only benefit the industry. Data collection will become faster and more reliable.

Are we turning full circle?

Clients still want traditional market research methods. CATI (computer assisted telephone interview) surveys, for instance, are still widely used and very popular.

Traditional research techniques such as CATI surveys do, after all, still gather data and enable insight, albeit with the help of analytical applications. They also provide a personal interaction with the customer that helps clients understand what creates a great experience and what actions could be taken to improve experience.

At TTi Research we like to keep pace with the latest innovations in market research, yet leverage more traditional approaches and research when they provide the best value.

Whether you are looking for online surveys or more traditional interviews, if you are interested in using our research services, please contact us at TTi Global Research and we would be happy to show you the broad range of techniques we can offer. 

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