As market researchers, we work in a profession experiencing rapid transformation. We have new methodologies, tools, and even companies. So, be honest: are you keeping up? We know: it’s hard. You’re busy with projects, and deadlines are looming. However, a quick read on the forces driving change and a brief look at alternate methodologies can go a long way.
Speed and Cost
The pressure on market researchers to deliver results is increasing. A focus on speed and cost is contributing to this pressure, and to the use of alternative research methods.
For example, in the past we might have had four months or more to conduct a significant multinational survey project. Not anymore. So, what does this mean? In the case of a client who needs it done faster and less expensively than ideal, it means we’ll propose a leaner, quicker survey-based approach or consider a different methodology altogether.
Rigor during the research process is essential for data quality. It is another reason why we have to try new market research methods.
We’ve learned a lot in recent years about how people participate in research. For example, we understand that people sometimes over-rationalize their answers on surveys or in focus groups. Even though data from focus groups, surveys, and in-depth interviews is still awesome, we know that due to human nature, certain projects are not a fit for these methods. We have to be honest with ourselves about new methods and how they can complement, and in some cases replace, our go-to methodologies in order to ensure data quality.
Another issue many of us face, especially those of us doing quantitative research, is survey fatigue. Not only do people get “fatigued” when answering a long questionnaire, but many people are just tired of taking surveys altogether.
It’s no secret that response rates for surveys have plummeted in recent years. This is problematic; can you really trust the results of a survey that had less than a 1% response rate? Sure, we have sources for finding qualified people to take our surveys, but for some populations of interest, surveys aren’t the best choice. Luckily, today we have lots of options for collecting data from survey-avoiding populations.
How Many Market Research Methods Can You Name?
Now that we know why new methods deserve more consideration, how many methodologies can you name? In Research Rockstar’s latest YouTube video, we cover eight different methodologies:
- Customer Data Analysis
- Focus Groups
- In-Depth Interviews
- Prediction Markets
- Quantitative Surveys
- Secondary Research
- Social Media Research
In the video, our president and lead instructor, Kathryn Korostoff, discusses the relationships of these methods when scaled against immediacy and suitability for extrapolation. The position of the methods is approximate, as they can change based on implementation specifics—but this is a good starting point. These methods are applicable to many project types, and are all important to consider for modern research projects.