How Has the Internet Changed Marketing Research?

Written by PortMA

How Has the Internet Changed Marketing Research?

I’ve been involved in market research for so long that Palm Pilots were the hot giveaway at the first customer relationship management conferences I attended! I remember when futurists predicted that mobile technology would be a big thing. Nobody would disagree that the internet, mobile devices, and connected technologies have become game-changers for marketing research.

Methodology Shifts

I’ve noticed that there are fewer in-person focus groups. The ability of technology to cut corporate costs is also convenient for participants. Why bring everyone together in the same room when you can use Google Hangouts? Or get everyone together for a video call? Some companies even believe that online tools, like Survey Monkey, are as effective as hiring outside research firms. They likely do not realize the importance of

  • how to phrase questions
  • how many questions to ask
  • the sequence in which questions should be asked.

Paradigm Shifts

“The State of Internet Marketing Research: A Review of the Literature and Future Research Directions,” was published in 2007. It predicted consumer usage and trust of the internet would impact integrated marketing research strategies. Almost ten years later, I would have to agree. Technology has improved marketing research in amazing ways. Here are some exciting trends that keep me energized as we help our clients transform and expand their business:

  • Internet marketing research continues to accelerate as consumer-facing industries rely on customer experience metrics to quickly adapt product specifications and go-to-market strategies.
  • Data analytics is changing the entire marketing research landscape, elevating its importance to the point where demand for data scientists is far higher than talent availability.
  • In the past, marketing departments were given budgets that made it difficult to measure impact and reach on a real-time basis. Results were delayed by weeks as marketing professionals waited for collateral to arrive in specific markets. Then they had to wait for sales data and hope their customer service departments were accurately capturing codes. Unless companies conducted focus groups or administered questionnaires, gaining insight into why a campaign was working (or not) was difficult. Technology has changed that.

Today, marketing research is about customer segmentation, learning preferences, and behavior drivers in a condensed timeframe. It will be exciting to see how companies use cross-channel promotion in the future to create live brand experiences, particularly as experiential marketing is integrated into broader campaigns.