In an age of digital revolution, research technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that it’s almost hard to keep up – and at Toluna, it’s no different. Pioneering panel providers are already developing technology to enable brands and consumers to interact with each other more easily than ever before and we have an inspiring vision for the future of research that reflects these developments.
The model of research that we see companies adopting in the near future will benefit not only the brand, but also the consumer, as they will be able to use previously collated data to inform their purchase decisions instantaneously, and importantly, while they are on the go. Using online communities to gather data has become increasingly popular since the proliferation of smart mobile devices and is now on the brink of becoming revolutionary.
So what will this future technology look like to the user?
Imagine you’re out shopping and find a pair of shoes that you find stylish, though a little out of your price range. You’re shopping alone, but ideally you’d like to ask your family, friends and maybe even other shoppers their opinion on the shoes. Currently, the main option you have for feedback is to text or post on social media and wait for your friends’ responses, or search for existing customer reviews online. However, very soon you will be able to instantaneously tap into a world of market research, using an interactive platform on your mobile device where there are millions of incentive-driven consumers on-hand to answer questions in real time. You poll the community while you’re in the store and receive a 70% positive rating on the shoes within seconds.
Knowing that the shoes are popular, you enquire at the till as to whether you are able to receive a discount, and the retailer says: certainly – just share 1MB of your personal shopping data with us and we will reward you with a 20% discount. It’s so simple – you share your data at the touch of a button and buy your shoes at a more affordable price.
The result? Firstly, a happy shopper who has used market research to make a decision and gain financial and social rewards. Secondly, in sharing your data you have not only added to the pool of information available for brands to use in future marketing decisions, but for fellow consumers to use for future purchases. Thirdly, the retailer has made a sale that, without the exchange of the discount for data, they may not have made. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
We believe this new type of technology marks the dawn of the democratisation of research, where consumers on the one hand, together with brands on the other, can continually engage with each other and add their own opinions to the ever-increasing databank of information. This in turn will help both parties make decisions and so the process goes full circle, and the database continues to grow infinitely.
So we’ve seen market research develop from traditional, primitive methods such as face-to-face and telephone interviews; to more sophisticated methods using technology to facilitate larger-scale projects; to online communities in which users can interact with each other. And now we’re set to see new tools and increasingly insightful ways of conducting research that will change the face of research yet again.
As long as brands can embrace evolving research technologies by making sure the platforms they use are user-friendly, engaging and accessible to all – and by rewarding the consumer for their participation – they can be confident their marketing campaigns will be fruitful, and their customers will remain happy.
This new model of research will ultimately allow anyone to benefit from the wealth of available data – after all, isn’t this what the internet was made for?
By Paul Twite, Managing Director, UK, Toluna