Technology’s Increasing Role in Supporting Market Research

Technology is changing the delivery of market research in terms of the amount of data that can be collected and the speed and ease at which it can be shared. However, the increasingly fragmented marketplace is making it more difficult to collect information, particularly among survey-weary millennials. At this year’s TMRE in Focus in Chicago marketers and research partners came together to share the unique challenges, opportunities and potential solutions that technology offers as a market research tool. Euromonitor attended to understand some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today and how it is evolving its methodologies to better predict consumer behavior as tastes become more niche and difficult to capture.

One of the most unifying themes to emerge from the conference was the increasing difficulty in capturing the purchase journey of consumers and what attracts them to the products that they buy. Mark Simon, a Managing Director at Toluna, a global data collection company outlined the growing difficulty in getting consumers, particularly highly sought after millennials to participate in surveys. To address this challenge head on, Simon outlined the strategy of his firm, which now includes partnering with companies specializing in cutting edge technologies like geo fencing and app based digital tracking to capture more data points on individuals without needing to ask so many questions. He also pointed out that while Millennials are more adverse to surveys, they are more open to allowing companies to collect their data via apps or other methods that do not intrude on their time.

Professor Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University gave the audience a sneak preview of the increasing number of use cases for virtual reality in the corporate world. Even at this early stage tracking users’ movements provides millions of data points to help track engagement with products that will eventually help marketers better predict consumer behavior. Jannu Lakshmanan from Tyson Consumer Insights and Strategy and Michael Edwards from Dig Insights co presented a new product testing tool modeled after the popular dating app, Tinder. Using the simple thumbs up/thumbs down interface, according to the pair, spoke to consumer’s intuitive gut response allowing Tyson to think of product pairing that they had not originally considered. The technological tool which created the biggest splash with presentations from two companies was Market Logic. Representatives from both Coca Cola and Colgate demonstrated how they replaced their previously cluttered market research libraries in a customized online platform.

Another overarching theme of the conference was the enablement of organizations to interpret all of the data correctly to drive the desired business outcome. Ahmer Inham from Nike used a map of Manhattan and its individual boroughs to highlight the differentiation of hyper local consumer insights within a small geographic area. Inham stressed that in order to receive a positive outcome for the project, it was necessary to have buy in from all levels of the organization. His team facilitated this through the implementation of easy to interpret dashboards. This point was further driven home by Mathew Velenti PhD, who used a 3-D model of a Starwood hotel to illustrate where guest feedback was positive or negative during his time as the VP of Guest Experience. Different members of the organization from engineering to management and housekeeping could use this tool to make adjustments to improve the overall guest experience.

In today’s hyper connected world with fast changing consumer trends, the market research industry is changing with it. Marketers and research partners have to evolve their technologies for collecting data and predicting consumers’ behaviors and path to purchase. At TMRE in Focus, the marketing research industry shared some of the cutting edge tools used to solve marketers’ challenges of today’s changing niche consumer tastes.