Since Daniel Starch developed his theory in the 1920s that advertising had to be seen, read, believed, remembered, and most importantly, acted upon, in order to be considered effective; companies have been using research as a means to gain a competitive edge on their competitors.
Research methodology and techniques have evolved substantially over the years most noticeably since the turn of the millennium. Conducting research has become faster, cheaper and more efficient; allowing companies of all shapes and sizes access to it. With companies conducting research in one form or another more than ever before, the challenge to gain meaningful unique data has grown ten-fold.
The pursuit of consumer insights has become an arms race, with the most successful companies finding ways to not only understand, but leverage insights at breakneck speeds. Those who have been able to harness the power of insights have flourished in the post brick and mortar retail world, while those who haven’t have faded into obscurity and obsolescence.
So how does market research play into the success of a company? And what are some areas of focus that companies can look toward in 2020 for a competitive edge?
Looking at Purchase and Usage Trends
To know where you’re going you need to know where you’ve been. By evaluating both purchasing and product usage behaviour of your current customers, you can understand the why, when and how of their consumption and through it can see trends and potential areas for change and enhancement. There are a few keyways to do this each with their own inherent benefits:
- In Store Observations: Allows you to see consumers in their natural environment and gives you an understanding of their path to purchase.
- Online communities: A small representative population of your consumer base. Gives you quick access to run both quantitative and qualitative data.
- Point of Purchase / Interaction data: Short follow up quantitative survey delivered post interaction.
- In Home Usage Tests: Diary / Log of a consumer’s interaction with your product and key takeaways of it’s use.
Gaining Competitive Insights
As important as it is to know how your consumers use your product / services, it’s also equally important to know how your consumers view you in relation to your competitors. Several ways to do this include:
- MaxDiff Exercises: Respondents evaluate all possible pairs of items within the displayed set and choose the pair that reflects the maximum difference in preference or importance
- Conjoint Analysis: Helps to determine how people value different attributes (feature, function, benefits) that make up an individual product or service
Leveraging Technology and Automation
As the speed of business continues to get quicker and quicker so too does the speed at which insights are gathered and put into use. The ability to leverage technology and automation has become more important amongst the ever-evolving business landscape. Here are a few areas where you can gain a competitive advantage.
- Facial Coding: Allows you to capture a respondent’s emotional engagement to any stimulus in real time.
- Chat Bots: Conduct qual style exercises at the size of quantitative studies.
Through harnessing the research techniques above you too can ensure that your company has a competitive advantage. Want to learn more about how you can implement these on your studies, contact us to learn more.