A recent study from Engine CARAVAN suggests that Americans are spending more time on their devices than ever before. Research showed that this group spends 4.5 hours a day on their smartphone on average. This means that brands and researchers have a lot of opportunities to reach billions of users around the globe in a matter of seconds. If the opportunity to connect is this instantaneous, why are we still hosting focus groups in a physical room with a clipboard and pen?
It’s time for research to match the modern consumer. Here are five tactics that can help to close the gap:
1. Meet Consumers Where They Are
According to a Pew Research study, 77% of Americans are online on a daily basis, while Statista suggests over half the world’s population now uses the internet. If the people you want to research are online, you need to meet them there.
A traditional focus group falls short because participants must be willing to take time out of their busy schedules to leave their homes and attend. Imagine observing an animal at a zoo, as opposed to a safari. A zoo replicates the animal’s natural habitat and, in turn, the animal replicates its natural behavior. On a safari, however, you actually observe an animal’s true behavior in its natural habitat.
Marketers need to rethink the research tools they are using. An agile insights tool creates targeted online communities based on niche audience segments and conveniently reaches these communities where they already are — online.
2. Move Fast
Consumers today move very fast, so brands today need to move even faster if they want to keep up. If you’re a California-based company and a traditional focus group takes three weeks to gather information about your audience in Taiwan, you run the risk of gathering obsolete data. To research and market to the fast-moving modern consumer, your business must move even faster. A qualitative tool that can be live within 24 hours will ensure you collect the latest and most relevant data, at the speed of today’s business.
3. Share and Share Alike
The concept of sharing is no longer verbal. Consumers today use the content they share online to define their image and their relationships with one another. Whether it’s a video posted by a brand or an influencer, or a photo or status of their own creation, the key to understanding an individual lies in what they share on their social media profile.
Imagine how revolutionary your research would be if your target audience shared this content with you directly? With a portal that encourages consumers to share personal photo and video content in real-time, you can know your consumers as individual humans, rather than statistics and add anecdotal flavor to your marketing message or context to your creative briefs.
4. Make the Most of Your Money
Gathering consumers, hiring researchers, finding a venue — from focus groups to one-on-one interviews, the costs of a traditional research tactics add up. And in such a fast-paced world — one where trends flip in an instant — it’s common to spend money, experience a minor change, and have to start from scratch.
Modern research tools should cut the costs of traditional research tactics, while providing the flexibility necessary to adapt to the fast-paced modern consumer.
5. Emotion = Impact
In a world where consumers are drowning in content, brands who can make a personally relevant, emotional connection with their audiences are the ones who will make an impact. In fact, a full 78% of consumers say personally relevant content increases their purchase intent. It is, therefore, more important than ever that modern research tactics are able to unlock individual, human stories that help brands drive emotional resonance.
The market is saturated with tools and suppliers who offer quick, custom qualitative solutions, but when it comes to the ethnographic expertise required to truly get into the heart and soul of consumers, these solutions often fall short. Challenge your supplier to utilize techniques that get to the emotional heart of a consumer insight, or risk results that flop.
Consumers are evolving. Marketing is evolving. So must marketing intelligence and research practices. Modern qualitative research methods need to enable brands and marketers to dive into the mind of their consumer anywhere in the world, in real-time. With quick turnarounds, low costs, easy direction changes, and the ability to reach your target segments on both a national and international level, you can make authentic connections, understand the emotions that drive behavior, and reveal new opportunities for your business.