2016 Tech That Will Make You A Market Research Blade Runner

In a fast-moving online culture, it seems like we’re always catching up to the next tech advance…or at least waiting eagerly for the next smartphone upgrade. In reality, though, technological innovations are a logical and natural continuum—sometimes long in the making and slow in the perfecting.

This progress could be the case for market research in 2016. Several technologies might finally bear fruit, though, instead of remaining as forbidden fruit no one can touch.

The issue is whether researchers notice instead of lingering in the already-halcyon days of phone polls and paper surveys.

Nobody knows that answer except 2017. In the meantime, here are some of the technologies that could potentially influence market researchers in 2016 (and this list is a suitable companion to our recent Market Research Trends To Follow In 2016 Or Die).

Eye-tracking technology: It’s doubtful this will make you a Blade Runner running around with the Voight-Kampff test, gleefully exposing Replicants trying to migrate to Earth. Yet this technology will get you much closer to deciphering participants’ intimate motivations in qualitative projects.

Eye-tracking technology is not only becoming accurate but also cost-effective, not something only the Tyrell Corporation can afford. As we reported:

The idea of eye-tracking technology on smartphone screens and other mobile technology was once deemed too pricey. This is no longer the case, with companies already offering eye-tracking technology for home devices at under $100. Samsung, as an example in the marketplace, has incorporated eye-tracking technology for a variety of its mobile products.

Automation: The word “automation” probably unnerves many researchers. It does evoke a notion of losing control, and that traditionally translates into wayward data. Yet companies with automating capabilities in their survey software—such as our sister company QuestionPro—can assist gaining insightful snapshots of consumers, as well as quick and often real-time feedback from respondents.

By no means does automation replace a robust research project or nurtured sample. Nevertheless, automation is beneficial for companies seeking “to find efficiencies similar to those enjoyed by media planners and campaign analysts.”

Quick, economical and easy when you need it…

Mobile: At qSample, it seems we’ve been beating this dead horse all 2015. It’s just too important of a stallion to ignore. Some have predicted online surveys completed from mobile devices to approach 50% in 2016.

Don’t get left behind like the career of Nicholas Cage after he did Left Behind.

Big Data: Sorry, but nothing to here see here, kids. Wait until 2017. Please let me repeat the quote from our executive that exemplifies what Big Data truly is:

It’s like teen sex. Everyone talks about it, everyone wants to do it, everyone thinks they know it, but no one is doing it.

If that’s not enough, here is telling research from Adobe explaining that “companies that embrace creative marketing are 3.5 times more likely to see their annual sales revenue grow by 10 percent or more compared with companies that exclusively rely on big data.”

Stay human, my friend.

Social Media Research: Social Media has been around almost as long as Big Data, but at least the former may potentially be harnessed in 2016 by market research. Sure, the age of organic social media is gone; yet that just means that companies like Facebook can corral their demographics in far more tidy ways. It’s a matter of market research listening better and leveraging automation in the right way for real-time data mining (and again, not replacing traditional research projects but complementing them).

As Fernando Anzures, Liquid Thinking Group CEO, recently said:

From Fan Pages to Brand Communities, it’s time for brands to go further and use social influence to create real conversations between brands and ambassadors. Co-creation at the center of social interaction. Social Media at the center of market research. Moving from ethnography to netnography, every aspect of a brand will be observed and determined by monitoring human behavior on social media.

Honorable mentions: Virtual Reality, wearables, and the Internet of Things. These three technologies will likely boom in the next year and beyond—or at the very least blossom—and already they have become vehicles for a sensible amount of market research.

In the meantime, don’t pass up the mentioned technologies in 2016. If not, even the Tyrell Corporation will not be able to save your data slipping away like a Replicant after a badly-conducted Voight-Kampff test.

1982 --- Harrison Ford on the set of "Blade Runner", directed by Ridley Scott. --- Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

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