Marketing Research Innovation: Software and Apps

Marketing research tools have come a long way from the time it began. It is inevitable to see many changes over the years as the world advances in everything – especially technology.

Marketing Research Innovation Software and Apps

In marketing research, both quantitative and qualitative aspects have used different tools in gathering information and continue to do so but with newly innovated tools – Tools that take the traditional practices and incorporate them into our modern society.

 

Surveys used to be paper-based. With the internet, paper-based surveys were upgraded to online surveys. Recently, with the aim of marketing research to tap into the mobile networks, micro-surveys have been a new alternative – one to three questions at a time, strategically embedded in apps to pop up and gain specific, useful and direct responses at specific times.

 

Focus groups only had the option to meet face to face back in the day. Now, there are online focus groups, online bulletins and more comfortable settings as everyone can meet right from the comforts of their choice of space – home, office, or others.

 

In depth interviews that used to be conducted face to face or on the phone can now be done through the internet. Previously, marketing researchers took advantage of messenger apps like Skype, Yahoo, MSN to conduct interviews and some still do today. It is still much more convenient than the regular meet-and-greet sessions.

 

Taking marketing research tools a step further, marketing research solutions providers have created apps that both respondents and researchers can download onto their smartphones. This enables them to take all that was mentioned above to the next level. It makes everything available at their fingertips.

 

The apps on the smartphones are just as powerful as the one on the laptops or notebooks. Uploading videos, recordings and images is easier since the app can be placed in the phone. IDIs can be done anywhere at the respondent’s most convenient time and place. Online focus groups can also be done on the mobile phone and gather equally useful information as when done through a personal computer or in person.

 

When information was collected manually and with different tools like a digital camera, or a voice recorder, then printed or copied and shipped off to an address or dropped off at an office, you could say that it was very inconvenient.  But with cameras and recorders built into many phones, it is now a piece of cake to do those tasks.

 

As marketing research becomes more and more a necessity for any business, small or large, and as we grow deeper into the modern age, it is only right to expect more applications and software to be created to further marketing research in the aims of the companies that make great use of it.

Stimuli Management and Accessibility

In market research, using stimuli is very common. A stimuli may be an advertisement, a concept, an image, a video or audio file that elicit a variety of responses from participants.

 Stimuli Management and Accessibility

Part of marketing research is conducting in depth interviews and focus groups. As a regulator or facilitator for any interview, it is a natural requirement to always be prepared. For some interviewers, their mode of connection with their respondents is through networks like skype, tango, msn and more. However, in sharing files like stimuli, it is done by copying and pasting them onto a word file then sharing it to the respondent. The respondent then downloads the file, opens it, and only then is able to have a look at the image or ad. Long process, isn’t it?

Another downside is, instead of showing the stimuli one at a time, facilitators might send them all in one bulk to save effort leaving respondents to view them all at once – maybe in a different way the facilitator planned. This makes the process quite disorganized and sort of messes up all the step by step preparation, doesn’t it?

Recently, marketing research providers have created an online working environment where they can maximise the use of stimuli. In an in depth interview or focus group, they can simultaneously present stimuli to the respondents and the observer systematically, by copying and pasting directly in their work environment instead of using word files. They can have the stimuli pop up in certain parts throughout the discussion. It could be done per image, or video, repeatedly or only once in the entire session.

This allows the regulator to monitor the reactions and responses given by the members as they go along each stimuli together. The regulator can be in full control of how to use the stimuli effectively in IDI’s and groups.

Some in-site applications of market research companies have the ability to watch how respondents test a new website’s user-friendliness by monitoring what they do on the site, where they go, and why they go to those parts of the site. It records what the respondents’ reactions are making a review of the entire process easy afterwards.

One of the best things these tools can do is making the job of a regulator easier. It is a

lso more convenient for the respondents as well since most of what they need is made available by a few clicks. Of course, responses are later analyzed, transcribed and reported.

How the Internet Helps Focus Groups for Marketing Research

Customarily, marketing research methods were done with a lot of physical involvement. It consisted of a lot of traveling and face-to-faces meetings. This was not just on the side of the researcher, but also on the side of the respondent. One of the tools for marketing research is organizing a focus group and only until not so recently have market researchers incorporated the power of the internet connection into their methods.

How the Internet Helps Focus Groups for Marketing Research

Focus groups are made of members who share similar tasks at given times. In the duration of the research project, they are committed to a regular meet-up in order to discuss a variety of topics about a specific topic, product, idea or method of service. Most times a focus group is created to provide feedback about products that are about to or have just been released to the public.  Imagine how one day in the week of going through the hassle of going out of the way to meet each week in a venue that may not be the most convenient place for everyone at a time that only MOST but NOT all can regularly attend. Well, thanks the internet, focus groups are no longer as difficult as it was nor is it as bothersome for both the facilitator and the participants.

One of the greatest gifts of the internet to marketing research is how much it has cut its research expenses; many online apps are FREE! Nowadays, focus groups can be done online through conference calls, individual calls or video/voice chatting. Most researchers feel that applications like Skype and join.me are applications sufficient enough to be utilized as the medium of keeping in touch with the members of the group and since they are used worldwide, most people have a chat ID for Skype, join.me, tango or the like.

No discouragement there. They are the most used apps these days, business or not, but of course marketing research companies have also created their own apps for conducting focus groups with a lot of tools added to the chat rooms. They have incorporated the video conferencing with the tools to do file sharing, show presentations and visuals that allow the researcher to make visual notes or explanations for the entire focus group to see. It also provides links to their online bulletin for continued discussions outside their scheduled meetings. The best thing is that they are flexible enough to be downloaded on Apple, Android phones and MS and MAC PCs.

Marketing Research in a Global Perspective

Online Focus Group StudyBefore the internet age, qualitative research was much more difficult to conduct because of the requirements especially if the target markets are global. Global marketing research can benefit from information and data collected from a variety of sources worldwide, but these are difficult to plan and organize, not to mention a requirement to travel to the location of these audiences as well as prohibitive costs.

However, conducting the global qualitative research online makes it easier for companies to interact with their target consumers. For example, focus group discussions need not be conducted in person because they may be done online. Usually, particularly for international companies, it is challenging for marketing researchers to plan focus groups with participants who are widely dispersed in terms of geography. Online video conferencing solves this issue, allowing the participants to interact with each other, and allowing the researchers to see the reactions of all participants. Another challenge which may be surpassed are the different schedules of participants. In online bulletin boards, this is no longer a problem. One can simply conduct an asynchronous online bulletin board where participants may post messages at their most convenient time.

The approach can also be changed at any time, and the mode of the delivery of questions can be adjusted. For example, questions may be posted one at a time or all at once for the members to answer at their own leisure. Respondents may be contacted individually and privately. They may post their answers privately if the participants wish, which means that the responses are more likely to be richer and more descriptive, further enriching the data for analysis. People may become more responsive and committed to the research because they can allot time for it and respond to questions at their own pace unlike face to face focus groups.

Another benefit of the online global marketing research is a shorter time frame of gathering information. Because everything is instantaneously documented online, researchers may make initial observations, recommendations and conclusions based on the data collected. This means that the collected feedback can be immediately interpreted via available downloadable transcripts and may be shared with the stakeholders of the company.

Finally, it must be stressed that this methodology is very economical for the company because there are no travel costs. Only video streaming and data transcription is needed for video conferencing, and online bulletin boards only require a website.

Tips in Conducting a Successful Online Focus Group

Tips in Conducting a Successful Online Focus GroupCompanies conduct focus groups in order to gather opinions, reactions and perceptions from customers about a product, service or advertisement.  It can become a very powerful research tool because the results of study can help provide a deeper understanding of human behavior.

Online focus groups are a new type of marketing research study which many companies are trying out as the internet makes it possible to connect various people from different locations at the same time.  However, if one chooses to conduct an online focus group, it is essential to plan it properly to maximize the results.

First of all, the respondents must be carefully selected.  In any type of marketing research, including online focus groups, the respondents to be recruited must fit the description of the company’s target market.  This will ensure the validity of the information collected.  The questions to be used when screening respondents will guarantee that only the right people will participate.

Tips in Conducting a Successful Online Focus GroupThe proper equipment must be set up before conducting this type of research method.  The participants may be connected through a website, forum or conferencing software.  The moderator asks questions, and the respondents give their answers.  It is also a common misconception that reactions and interactions are limited when conducting online focus groups, but utilizing webcams can easily fix this.  Webcam marketing research studies makes it possible to record the facial expressions and reactions of respondents while they answer questions or interact with the other respondents, further enriching the research analysis.  In other words, the addition of a webcam in an online focus group enables the researchers to also collect this type of data, including audio and visual cues of all the respondents as they accomplish the tasks given to them or answer questions and interact with the rest of the group.  Webcam focus groups are a good substitute to face-to-face group sessions.

Moderating the online study is easy, because one can just throw a question at the respondents with a simple mouse-click.  However, it is a requirement that a moderator must be able to type fast in order to manage the group discussion, or if not, have an assistant who will support the moderator. The moderator will not only be facilitating the dialogue, he or she will also be reading and evaluating the responses, entering questions, and possibly be dealing with potential technical issues at the same time. The proper combination of good ethics and marketing research software support will ensure your projects success.