To paraphrase Shakespeare, now is the winter of the consumer research industry's discontent. The recently-released GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report (GRIT) announces that insights professionals "are unequivocal in their belief that the industry is under immense pressure to change.”
Here are key quotes from the report, a wide-ranging, twice-yearly, survey-based snapshot of the industry. Once more, the quality and representativeness of consumer panels is an acute concern.
– "Most corporate researchers aren’t very satisfied with multiple aspects of industry research."
– "The dominance of online surveys is striking: they make up 56% of technique usage by project. Mobile-only surveys remain a distant second, at 14%.”
– "Technology/innovation is considered the biggest challenge facing the industry.”
– The most frequently-cited specific challenge is data reliability. As one of the study's nearly 1,600 respondents said, "real consumers are often not inclined to take part in research....due to lack of consumers’ interest, it’s difficult to generate reliable, sincere and in-depth answers.”
– One important way to meet these challenges is "leveraging technology to get insights where people are, where they make decisions, where they use products and services.”
– "Examples [of new methods] mentioned in the survey include using mobile devices and geo-fencing for in-the-moment research and retail experience surveys.”
In fact, in-the-moment research is here already, along with a solution to the panel woes long documented by GRIT. Newly-developed mobile-app Path-2-Purchase™ solutions let researchers identify the right consumers to follow, then track and map their movements. The result is a highly intelligible and quickly useful trove of Big Data that lets researchers pinpoint important consumer segments by who they are, where they go, and how often. They can then create surveys to discover the "why" of consumer attitudes and behaviors – the crucial factor that Big Data alone can't provide.
As for the deep concern about panel quality and representativeness documented in the GRIT Report, the way forward is simply to follow where consumers already have led: to a deep and ongoing engagement with mobile apps. By harnessing seamless, in-app survey functionality combined with a fair cash incentive, insights professionals will bring back those disappearing research participants.
There's ample outside validation of mobile-app panelists' engagement and satisfaction with the in-app research process. WatchMojo, a website and YouTube channel that churns out Top 10 lists on just about everything, recently cited the leading consumer research app, Surveys On The Go®, as one of the “Top 5 Apps That Can Make You Money."
Beyond that, mobile-app research clients can verify engagement simply by checking the unsolicited comments and ratings panel members leave at Apple’s App Store and Google Play. For Surveys On The Go® the ratings are consistently about 4.5 stars on a scale of 5.
Here’s one last quote from GRIT: “As authors of this GRIT Report, we think the industry will navigate these changes well and will thrive in the long run.” You don't have to wait to get started.
To download the GRIT report, click here. And for a productive conversation about the mobile-app solutions that can meet your projects’ specific needs and help your brands or clients thrive, just get in touch by clicking here.