By Joanna Jones
InterQ is headquartered in San Francisco, which puts us smack-dab in Silicon Valley-land. We’re surrounded by some of the smartest and most successful tech companies, as well as some of the world’s most innovative startups. Many of our clients are in the tech space, yet we’re always amazed how many tech companies here still don’t invest in, nor understand the value of market research. If you’re reading this blog, and that last sentence made you gulp a bit with guilt, read on. I’ll explain some of the advantages of doing market research in the tech industry.
Market research in the tech industry, reason #1: Data is only half the picture
These days, one of the most sought-after skills that tech companies are seeking is data science; the troves of customer data that companies are acquiring requires a savvy data scientist to sort through. While data sets show illuminating patterns and tell a story, data only tells us so much. Sure, a company can see how many clicks a page gets, cart abandon rates, and how long people spend on an app, but that’s only part of the picture. What data can’t tell is why a person decided to seek out a search term to land on a web page, what other actions a person wanted to take — but couldn’t — or what frustrations/delight a user experienced while navigating a site or app.
Enter market research.
Specifically, enter qualitative research.
With qualitative research, we get behind the “why.” Using techniques that include customer journey mapping, mobile ethnographies, and UX testing, we’re able to quickly see the full picture behind how and why customers choose to interact with a technology brand, the reasoning behind their actions, and the areas that could be improved to make the experience better. This, coupled with data sets, helps companies improve a website or app by having holistic input.
Market research in the tech industry, reason #2: Competition is stiff
In tech, the competition is stiff. Even if a product/brand is wholly unique, a tech company is still competing for attention and time. A tech company with big aspirations simply can’t afford not to get a competitive edge by optimizing a product through both quantitative and qualitative research.
When a tech company invests in market research and takes time to listen to customer input (and takes that input to design a better product), this helps position the company ahead of companies that are not doing the same due-diligence and 360-approach on customer input.
Market research in the tech industry, reason #3: Consumer tastes change quickly
A third reason to start doing market research in the tech industry (if the first two points haven’t convinced you yet) is that consumer tastes are fickle and change quickly. You may have launched a super-successful app or site, but just as tech evolves fast, so do customer tastes. To keep your customers engaged and interested, bi-annual or annual customer check-ins can payoff enormously in terms of keeping your product smooth, innovative, and reflective of customer tastes.