The 21st Century has ushered in the mobile revolution. The use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and other internet-enabled mobile phones has increased rapidly in the past years, and as such, mobile internet usage has become a commodity. These devices are everywhere and can reach previously unreachable target groups. Indeed, with more than 5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, mobile technology has become a significant tool in qualitative marketing research.
The mobile revolution presents new opportunities and possibilities for researchers, and businesses must align their marketing research strategies to the changing technology. Much more than a tool for communication and messaging, mobile devices are accessible anytime, anywhere. The mobile revolution has changed the way people live and work, shaping habits, preferences and behaviors.
But how exactly does mobile qualitative research work? How may a business implement it?
One example of how mobile qualitative research may be applied is during events. People bring their phones everywhere they go, and it is now possible, through mobile technology, to relay their experiences, reactions, likes, dislikes and other data relevant to the study, in real time.
Mobile qualitative research also allows researchers to take a peek into the consumer experience without being in the same locale. Researchers can send the participants questions while they are at a business establishment. The participants can include photos of shelves, products or store layouts along with their answers.
Another benefit of mobile qualitative research is improving the response rate of behavior diaries and patient journeys. Mobile technology makes it easier for participants to reply to targeted questions at a specific point in time, which means a higher accuracy and reliability of data. This method also allows the researcher to gather data during set times, even on a daily or an hourly basis.
Similarly, pre-group exercises can be conducted more thoroughly by allowing researchers to monitor the participants and guide them to complete the exercises. Mobile technology minimizes the tendency of non-compliance or non-completion of the task, because the researcher can simply remind the participants about the planned activities and track them.
Most important of all, mobile qualitative research allows researchers to interact with participants, even if they are on the other side of the world, including those from bottom of the pyramid (BOP) and emerging market groups. While most of these participants may not have access to the internet or computers, they may use their mobile phones to respond to surveys.