Market research is another customer touchpoint

We spend a lot of our days as researchers speaking to customers of our clients. We survey them, invite them to join online communities, collect vox pops, invite them to participate in focus groups, and answer telephone calls.

I have lost count of the number of times, at the end of a focus group or online bulletin board, the respondents have told us how much they have enjoyed taking part in the research, and how they perhaps won’t look at a brand in the same way again. While it is never our intention, it is often one of the by-products of our work with consumers;  a consumer that is now more engaged with the brand than they perhaps were before. One thing that is often overlooked is that market research is actually not just a way to get feedback, but that it ends up being another way for a brand to engage with its customers.

The aim of most market research is to enable marketeers, sales people and business leaders to make a decision.

This is what we work to – providing clear direction to our clients. However, if we have also got the opportunity to provide a fun, enjoyable research experience for our respondents, then surely we must?

This is particularly key for some of our research projects where our researchers are highly prominent (such as in-store) and are often mistaken as being a member of staff, or a representative of that organisation.

Think about if you flip it around – if you as a respondent have just sat through a terrible 20 minute online questionnaire that is for a company whose products you may occasionally have purchased, or you have yawned your way through an uninspired focus group, you may come away at the end of it feeling not wholly positive towards that brand. We also think this is increasingly important in an age where DIY research is becoming more common simply due to the tools available. But that doesn’t mean we should forget the skills we have learnt along the way for thinking carefuly about how we speak to customers for research.

We think this presents a fantastic opportunity for marketeers to see market research as more than just ‘feedback’ but ensuring that it works as a positive brand experience. We don’t want this to get in the way of the feedback bit of course (and we would never advocate conducting market research simply as a marketing tactic) but a good market research experience can only be a good thing (even if you are deeply dissatisfied with the brand / product / retailer in question)

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Amy Nichols
01962 842211
Article date - 17/10/2013
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