On a monthly basis, the Cincinnati AMA Marketing Research Shared Interest Group meets to discuss industry issues, trends, techniques and methodologies. During the January 2015 meeting, we debated the group’s burning research questions.
How to get deeper insights? The discussion started with how to get deeper insights. Doing a blend of quantitative and qualitative research can go a long way to getting to the “why”. Qualitative, however, doesn't have to be face to face. Several attendees have used online discussion boards quite successfully. With a good moderator you can really probe and clarify plus participants will build on each other’s comments.
What are the benefits of geo-fencing? The discussion then moved to new tools that can help with insight. Geo-fencing is opening up a new world where we can reach consumers in the moment. This may help increase accuracy although even if asked in the moment many consumers still don’t know why they do something because many purchase decisions are unconscious. It could be it is what they have always bought and as long as they are happy with the product they don’t consider other brands or options. Daniel Kahneman discusses two ways of thinking in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. One way is fast and more intuitive while the other is slow and more deliberate. Many purchase decisions seem to take the fast route. One challenge with Geo Fencing is the fact that respondents still generally take surveys at home even when they are on a mobile device, so it can be hard to get them in the moment.
Are physiological tools useful? Physiological tools such as eye tracking, facial recognition, and other bio-metrics, were also mentioned. Technology is making these techniques more readily available. For example, facial recognition can be accomplished with just a webcam. Some caution should be exercised with these tools because not everyone will agree to participate which can impact your sample representivity.
How to improve survey design? The talk then turned to bad survey design. Many are seeing unrealistic surveys that just haven’t been thought through. Researchers need to spend more time thinking about how survey instruments impact the quality of their data and ultimately the accuracy of business decisions. This has become even more important given the increasing number of respondents using mobile devices to take surveys. The best surveys have to be device agnostic. Unfortunately, even when presented with research on research suggesting better survey design, there still seems to be a lot of resistance to making the necessary changes.
What is the impact of big data on marketing research? Finally, there was a short discussion on big data and the fact that most in the marketing research industry have been using it for years. We just didn't necessarily call it big data. Everyone agreed that the big data craze shouldn't make marketing research obsolete.