Back in the day, market research used to involve going into towns and getting people to answer questions about the products they use. While still effective, this method has largely been replaced by online market research which can be more effective and, well, less-demeaning to the populous.
Marketing research also used to include going into retail outlets and asking store customers questions about the products they sell. Now, we can ask customers questions about the products they’re searching for online and, in some cases, even get them to make a purchase decision during the research stage.
So why is online market research so crucial to any marketing effort? Here are just a few reasons why.
Easier To Reach A Bunch Of People
The first and most obvious reason is that reaching a bunch of people is much easier than reaching a select few. When you have a large audience, you can use a variety of tools to reach them including;
- Facebook campaigns
- Twitter campaigns
- LinkedIn campaigns
- Instagram accounts
- Blog articles
When you target a smaller group of people, you’re typically limited to using only one or two of these platforms. But when you want to reach a large group of people, you can’t pick and choose which social platforms you want to use. You have to use them all.
When you’re speaking with a select group of people about your products or services, you’re going to get a certain set of responses. But when you poll a large group of people, you’re going to get a varied and sometimes unexpected set of responses. This is especially important when you’re doing live chat or survey polling via email.
The more people you poll, the more varied and interesting the data you’re going to receive. This is important because it means you’re able to spot trends and nuances that would otherwise have been missed. For example, a popular product or service that is receiving mixed reviews from users can be a red flag. Or, if you’re using a survey to gather feedback on a new product or service, a low response rate can imply that the respondents have either not been exposed to the product or service or are unaware of its existence.
A major difference between in-person market research and online market research is that the latter allows for much more creativity. In-person market research often involves asking respondents questions in a predefined manner. So when you do a poll or survey, you’re more or less limited to the questions you’ve thought of beforehand.
Online market research, on the other hand, is more open-ended. You can ask any kind of question you want and get any kind of response you want. This is the true power of social media and the internet as a whole. If you can think of a question, you can probably find an online community to help you out.
Another advantage of online market research is that the respondents are more representative of the actual user base for your company. In-person market research involves going into towns and getting people to answer questions about the products they use. So if you’re looking for user insights, you’re going to have to rely on the few people you reached in person.
With online market research, you’re able to tap into a much larger pool of respondents who are more likely to be representative of the general population. So rather than just getting responses from people in the towns you visited, you’re getting responses from all over the world.
Easier To Measure & Improve Reputations
Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is much easier with online market research. You can simply calculate how many people you reached and how many of those people ended up purchasing your product or service.
Even if you do the math, it’s still not easy to assess the effectiveness of your in-person market research. If you’re using a telephone survey, you can get a general idea of the reach of your phone survey. But for many other forms of in-person market research, you either have to keep track of the number of respondents or compare the answers you got to those from people in a similar demographic.
With online market research, you simply compare the percentages or averages to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns. If you’re doing a survey, you can also use the data to create more effective campaigns in the future. So instead of just comparing your results to a single database of responses, you have access to all the data collected from previous research efforts.
Most Importantly, Online Market Research Is A Must For Due Diligence
One of the biggest problems that marketers face is that, sometimes, they get so focused on the results of their marketing efforts that they forget to properly assess the efforts themselves.
Due diligence is very important because it’s the process of checking and rechecking all the facts and figures related to a product or service before you make a decision to buy it. Due diligence is typically performed after the sale, but it can be a part of the sales process itself.
Before you start marketing your product or service, you need to do a lot of research. This research should include collecting data about the products or services that you plan on marketing, performing an ROI calculation, and gathering user feedback.
Online market research is very effective at helping you do all these things effectively. Not only does it make performing all the calculations much easier, but it also provides you with a much larger pool of respondents who can give you more accurate feedback. So rather than just getting the input of a few people in your target demographic, you can tap into the collective knowledge of millions of people around the world.
If you want to perform a proper analysis of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you need to collect data from multiple sources. You can’t simply rely on a single set of figures due to the fact that marketing is a ever-changing world. So if you want to be able to make informed decisions, you need to be collecting as much data as possible throughout the process.