Insights & Industry23/02/18
Continuous Tracking vs. Traditional Research
Companies bet on getting as much data as possible about their markets to drive their business decisions. For decades, traditional market research has been an integral partner (or in-house function) for many organizations to achieve this goal. It prides on scientific tools and methods built on reams of data gathered from consumers to justify company decisions. But in our increasingly fast-paced world, where consumer experience can make all the difference between winning and losing, organizations need to look beyond traditional research. To capture actionable insights, organizations need continous tracking, to quickly and efficiently impact the consumer journey as it unfolds.
Since the 1950s, with the arrival of telemarketing, companies have tried to connect with consumers directly to understand them better, to target and sell more. Market research as a field, has been around for decades and is a multibillion-dollar industry today. It has helped companies to understand their market using a variety of tools and techniques. However, most companies have struggled to utilize such research directly to create meaningful impact on their business.
Why traditional research cannot drive agile decisions?
One common challenge that companies face is the time it takes to undertake traditional research. The process often involves multiple stakeholders within and outside the company. They need to find real consumers to participate in the research and analyze the gathered data into actionable insights.
Another challenge is the lack of expert analysts and data scientists within organisations, to translate data into actionable business insights. These insights need to be shared with the rest of the organization in a simple way (without the need of data expertise to understand).
Finally, one of the biggest challenges that companies face, is that the market moves faster than they can keep up with. This is true particularly for the FMCG industry, where consumer preferences change faster than companies can learn and react to.
It is no longer enough to do one-off market studies with time and resource consuming processes. This is more relevant now than ever before. By the time the insights arrive in weeks or months, the market is not what it used to be, and neither are the consumers.
Follow consumer journey to improve consumer experience
Excellence in consumer experience is the mantra for most companies to excel in their consumer promise. They need to walk the path that consumers take in real-time to understand how better to serve them, how to create products and services that wows them and keeps them loyal.
Continuous tracking with quick checks and validations allows companies to course-correct in real-time and take charge of the Consumer Experience.
This requires continuous tracking of the consumer journey, conduct instant feedback and involve the consumer in the design process. Consumers are part of the product / service creation from the beginning. Continuous tracking with quick checks and validations allows companies to course-correct in real-time and take charge of the Consumer Experience.
The traditional ways of in-depth market research are still relevant when considering long-term impact of brands, trends, products and services on consumer behaviour. However, they are not adequate to track immediate impact of the investments in sales and marketing on consumer behaviour. Companies cannot use those methods to take immediate corrective actions to fix errors in market execution e.g. at retail or to quickly validate changing consumer behaviour to channel investments.
Mobile devices are our personal tools for self-expression
Today, (almost) everyone carries a device on them that is connected to the online world. These devices are personal, intimate and private channels to connect with individuals. Using a digital platform (such as Crowst) that connects companies directly to those individuals, with a mobile solution, helps capture contextual insights directly from them. As compared to a social media platform (that consumers use to publicly broadcast their grievances / excitements) or a personal face to face / telephone interview (where consumers are influenced by the method, tone and timing of the interview as well as the interviewer), a mobile solution that allows consumers to reply when they please and in their own privacy, elicits a more candid response.
Delivering good consumer experience requires continuous tracking of the consumer journey and reacting quickly to shortfalls at the consumer touchpoint. To achieve this ambition, companies need to augment their traditional research methods with an accelerated method of gathering quick market validations as the market evolves.