When the calendar turns from December to January, it’s a good time to reflect on what was, and what might be. Many of us do this on a personal level, but it’s also a beneficial exercise in business. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of the day-to-day, and taking the opportunity to hit the pause button to look ahead is the only way to be ahead of the curve, not behind. Let’s look into what the crystal ball might show as emerging or evolving trends for market research in 2019:
Market Research Trend 2019 #1: Behavioral science informs market research
Behavioral science isn’t new to qualitative market research, but it has emerged as a more prominent topic over the past few years. Behavioral science, and the resulting research, helps market researchers understand the myriad aspects related to someone’s decision-making processes or habits. Understanding why and how people make certain decisions is the sharpest tool marketers have to communicate with customers.
There are a number of methods that get close to better understanding consumer behavior, but many of them don’t capture empirical evidence, such as sensory information encapsulated through observations and the recordation of behaviors through experimentation.
There have been more recent events exploring behavioral science as it relates to consumer decision making, but market researchers are still learning how behavioral science can best be leveraged. We expect to see this be an area of growth in 2019.
Market Research Trend 2019 #2: Consumers will continue to share data
Given the many data breaches exposing sensitive consumer information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and purchasing history, you’d think that consumers would think twice about sharing their information online or with large corporations. While we think many consumers are smarter about what they share, we don’t think it will slow down the amount of data they give up in exchange for more tailored, personalized marketing.
We anticipate that the convenience of apps, mobile and technical solutions, e-Commerce, and subscriptions will continue to outweigh lower quality, expense and possibly safety. In short, there will be no shortage of data to sort through in the coming years.
Market Research Trend 2019 #3: AI and Machine Learning will help make sense of the barrage of data
Again, AI and Machine Learning are not new tools to market research, but they continue to evolve and have better applications. We’ve seen these technologies applied to text and image analysis, providing more efficient ways to mine large data sets for higher level findings.
Having a better understanding of the patterns underlying consumer’s behavior is an opportunity for organizations to link together unrelated data sets. We anticipate it will become easier to answer the “so what” questions and create a narrative to address some of the issues plaguing client/business relationships.
These are but a few of the trends that will likely influence market research in the coming year. There is little doubt that market research will continue to move more on-line, but there are still tried-and-true methodologies such as focus groups, surveys, mobile ethnographies, and others that yield relevant insight into consumer’s behavior. At the end of the day, market research helps organizations improve their business strategies and better understand their customers.