There’s no denying the impact digital media has had on the market research realm. While the Internet has resulted in plenty of positive changes and a significantly increased freedom of information, the sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming. However, there are ways to deal with information overload - ranging from the complex to the extremely simple.
Back to Basics: Keyword-Based Research
Simply Googling your company’s name, your competitors, and keywords associated with your brand can lend you a world of insights, especially if you start connecting them with online review sites, blogs, and forums. And, it is completely free and easy to do; but, of course, you need to take your findings with a grain of salt.
There’s a difference between anonymous internet reviews and posts versus speaking to someone on the phone or in person - the web might allow people to be more honest, but they may also be exaggerating or posing in some way, resulting in your data being less accurate.
Enhanced And Improved Data Analysis
On the other hand, the growth of digital media has made it possible to explore, segment, and learn from the vast amounts of internet data in new ways. And, these analytical can tools play right into improving your customer acquisition and customer relationship management programs, since they will let you uncover new information about what your audience is actually doing online.
Social Media Is Your New Focus Group
Start with where you know your customers already are - and that’s social media. There are plenty of free and paid software tools and services that allow you (or your market research team) to scan and monitor mentions of your brand, your competitors, and any other relevant keywords. Options range from the high-end, like the offerings from major firms like Adobe and Salesforce, to free services like SocialMention - and nearly everything in between.
So, how do you choose? Consider your budget and what you really want to learn about your customers and prospective clientele, and reverse engineer it from there by seeking out the tools that can help you answer your questions about your audience.
An added bonus - once you set up your social media monitoring program, you can use it to further refine and expand your marketing efforts, since social media is definitely a valuable promotional tool as well.
Immediate Data Generation
The general speed of dialogue and ease of communication on the Internet means that marketing professionals need to be quicker than ever when it comes to monitoring and generating data - and the market research field is no exception. Ensure that you have the most up-to-date data possible - whether you gather it yourself or you work with a market research firm to learn more about your customers.
Discovering And Choosing Free Or Paid Market Research Reports Online
The web has made it incredibly simple to discover both free and paid market research reports, white papers, presentations, and similar documents that are relevant to your organization’s needs - it is a simple search away. That said, not all reports are created equal, so choose wisely. Free research can be an excellent starting point, but purchasing reports from a major company, like MarketResearch.com, can be even more valuable if you have the budget. Like any other major purchase, check out any free samples, case studies, and what other buyers have to say about their work before you invest.
Overall, the internet and rise of digital media have had a positive effect on the ability to perform market research - whether a company chooses to do it in-house or work with a third party. Not only can you quickly discover what your audience does online, you can also find quality companies to work with that can become a remarkable asset to your team and your brand.
For more information on using market research to help your organization achieve success, download our free eBook.
This post was written by Megan Ritter.