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As the new year hangovers fade and mad rush sprinting from Thanksgiving to Christmas is over, it’s an appropriate time to gather around the “crystal ball” and see what trends in qualitative and quantitative marketing research are in store for the new year.

In 2018 we expect to see more refinement in market research technologies that will allow companies to better understand their customers holistically.  As millennials continue to dominate the market in terms of purchasing power, understanding this cohort remains as relevant in 2018 as it was a few years ago. There is nothing static about this generation, and companies will miss out understanding the nuance of their customer base if they continue to use outdated practices to capture insight. This isn’t to say that focus groups and IDIs are dead, only that they are not the end all when it comes to understanding customer behavior.

2018 Market Research Trend: Real-Time Market Research

InterQ has had great success using real-time market research, and will continue to suggest this means of capturing market insight when appropriate for clients. There are a number of options for gathering feedback in real time, and we have seen first-hand how this has shaped the development and marketing of products for companies.

Capturing a customer’s feedback in the moment yields the most honest data. Say for instance you are wanting to discover how a customer engages with your app. Interacting and capturing real-time feedback yields very different responses than having a customer try and remember exactly what they were experiencing a few days or months later in a focus group or during an interview.

Additionally, real-time market research is flexible and can be quickly adapted to how users are responding. Given the speed that companies are bringing products to market, it’s more important than ever that capturing customer feedback be in the moment.

2018 Market Research Trend: Co-Creation

There are a number of examples of companies that have disrupted entrenched markets because they dared to empower customers to lead the way. We’ve written before about the success of Glossier, a cosmetics company. Glossier’s business model is a perfect example of co-creation. The company has a very engaged community of users and Glossier has done an exemplary job of asking the right questions, listening to the feedback and then creating products that are a result of this interaction. If the thought of ceding this much control to your customer base alarms you, don’t let it; co-Creation is about taking customer engagement to the next level. While some companies can successfully figure this out on their own, more often a company will work with a qualified marketing research company to help it develop the best questions to ask, guide the customer engagement journey, and neutrally collate data generated.

2018 Market Research Trend: Artificial Intelligence

We fully expect to see more data generated about users and AI software to help make sense of this data. AI technologies are getting better at spotting patterns in the data, but without qualitative insights, the data are often not illustrative of the whole picture. At the end of the day companies still need to know the “how” and the “why” of consumer behavior, and combining qualitative and quantitative research techniques will continue to provide companies with the most comprehensive insights.

What will you learn about your customers in 2018? Request a proposal today >