Technological advances are transforming most processes, also when it comes to obtaining information. Market research is no exception. We talk about how technology and digitization are changing and democratizing market research and increasing its value.
In this blog we have discussed on numerous occasions the importance of market research. In today's volatile and changing market, organizations require methodologies to anticipate market trends and understand customers.
The collection and analysis of customer data goes only so far and, today, it is not enough. To adapt to change, stay current, understand the market and really know their customers, companies need to combine both techniques: customer data analysis and market research.
However, many companies mistakenly decide to skip market research. Probably because they are unaware of the impact that market research can have on the launch of a new product or service, to build customer loyalty or to optimize the company's marketing campaigns.
The truth is that market research has traditionally been perceived by companies as slow, too expensive and resource-based.
But this is no longer the case.
When organizations think of market research they usually think of traditional market research. However, technology and digitization have also influenced market research with new ways of conducting it, new digital resources, new tools and new techniques that are faster and less expensive.
In short, market research is still essential, but it is no longer slow or expensive. Moreover, the new possibilities in terms of market research increase the value it provides, which is increasingly dynamic and productive.
Fortunately, it seems that companies' perception of market research is changing, or at least that's what the market indicates. Global market research industry revenues have almost doubled in the last 5 years, from $46 million in 2014 to $73 million in 2020. Undoubtedly, the market research industry is expanding and companies are realizing the need to invest in market research to stay ahead of the competition.
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How technology is changing market research
Market research studies show that the digital era has also penetrated into the market research sector. According to the latest ESOMAR Global Research Report, investment in digital market research exceeds the figures for investment in traditional market research every year since 2018. In other words, companies are already investing more in digital market research processes than in traditional techniques.
But what exactly does technology-driven market research consist of?
It is not that traditional market research and digital market research are two different things. The methodologies and practices are the same, but the new market research models take advantage of technology and digital tools to obtain the information that traditional methods require more time and, probably, greater amounts of money.
If all business disciplines are leveraging technology to streamline and automate processes, market research is no exception.
Technology applied to market research allows companies to accelerate their market research projects and obtain results faster. In addition, the digitization of the channels now used to conduct research allows professionals to reach more people.
One of the most common types of market research is surveys. In the past, conducting a survey with a sufficient sample to be considered representative required direct fieldwork by several professionals who had to contact people face-to-face. Now, thanks to digital channels, conducting a survey of a significant number of people is much easier, faster and more convenient for all parties involved.
On the other hand, technology and digitization are also driving trends that enable organizations to unlock greater value through market research.
Increasingly, market research is leveraging customer intelligence and analytics for the generation of actions linked to customer actions. For example, if we detect that one of our potential customers or leads downloads one of our content, we can send them an online survey to obtain quality information about certain content and then analyze the customer's behavior in digital browsing sessions. Thus, market research is complemented with digital analytics for greater knowledge generation.
Market Research and Artificial Intelligence
Beyond the digitization of market research methods and processes, technology is also transforming market research in a deeper way, especially through the application of artificial intelligence.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms allows organizations to scan huge amounts of market research information in record time. What used to take an enormous investment of time —even months— can now be done in a few hours thanks to artificial intelligence.
On the other hand, artificial intelligence algorithms are able to analyze and unlock data in multiple languages, which, again, contributes to the democratization of information as it becomes more easily accessible.
The availability and use of AI in market research will have a major impact on how companies transform data into insights, as well as on the decision-making process. With an unlimited amount of information at their fingertips, the cost of making intelligent decisions from data and market research is reduced.
In short, market research is now more necessary than ever before. Market volatility, diversification of competition and accelerating changes in customer behavior and consumption habits make market research essential today. In addition, technological advances and the digitization of traditional processes have made conducting market research easier, faster and cheaper than ever before.
Want to improve your market research? Don't miss our complete guide on market research, in which we explain the types of market research that exist, how they are carried out, our tips and much more.