As we begin to understand the repercussions of Covid-19 and come out from our initial responses and communications, businesses now enter a period where reassessment, adjustment and refining their efforts will be in focus. Market research gives insight about how to pivot your business in the right direction.
Understanding anticipated changes in customer behavior and the shifts in mind-set that has resulted from the response to the pandemic is key to future business success. Although you may not need the same information as before, companies still need to make important decisions. Evidence based decisions are probably the most important ones to be making at this time to restructure your business in a way that answers to new customer needs as the economy begins to reopen. Market research professionals have been tasked with the important role of providing sound evidence-based advice.
Such information may be obtained through various sources. These include surveys, omnibus studies, online UX design and remote qualitative research to name a few. What is important to remember is that your choice of method is a means of connecting and communicating with your customer. Communication is a key practice and more so at this time. Therefore ensure that what you say reflects a realistic understanding of the situation and a genuine concern for what your customers may be experiencing as well as what the markets are going through. Thus the appropriate tone and the right research to monitor changes in behavior, perception, and attitude are important considerations for companies.
Text and images from social media is also an interesting source of insights and should not be overlooked. More people are spending more time online and on social media sites. These platforms provide individuals with a voice to air their opinions and express their needs.
Why do Market Research
While there is potential reason to consider cancelling or delaying customer insights or market research, careful planning and the right decisions are critical as they will likely shape the way your brand is viewed going forward. Thus we at Interact RDT recommend continuing your research for the following reasons.
- Now is the time to stay “close” to your customers. Research allows you to communicate with them and learn what they need at this time. This will guide your customer experience strategy. Customer experience (CX) has over the last 10 years become the key driver of competitive advantage for companies. Understanding how your customers’ needs change now will assist in delivering the best customer experience you can offer.
- Research allows you to explore changing customer responses and keep track of behaviours, fears and expectations that are changing with the implications of the pandemic.
- Assess these changing needs, behaviours, and concerns and adjust your business accordingly in terms of your offering, logistics, and your communications. Research may bring new opportunities to the fore as you understand changed customer needs. For instance, with the flooding of ecommerce sites, perhaps a good strategy is to take advantage of the flooding of ecommerce sites for your own brands.
- With people wanting to stay home more and make use of new ways to shop, it is important to have a deeper understanding of how buying patterns and brand allegiance are changing. Market research will tell you what is needed to boost your brands trust among your customers.
- As more people make use of online channels, market research will also guide your User Experience (UX) design strategy allowing for ease of use and decreased barriers of engagement when customers interact with your brand via digital platforms.
- Changing economic circumstances means cutting back, trading down, or delaying purchases. This information must be considered in order to ensure your brand remains relevant and is well positioned.
- Interestingly, we have seen an increase in survey participation now. People seem to want to provide input at this time either due to having extra time on their hands, needing to be heard, looking for a distraction, or wanting to feel connected.
New Ways of Market Research
Now is the time for quick agile responses and together with our high tech economy, we can exploit digital and online research methodologies and tools. This allows research to continue within the framework of the health and safety guidelines of social distancing. Consumer insight tools, fieldwork and data analysis can occur much faster. You can use these tools to obtain average views or further break the data down into appropriate segments for a more detailed understanding as is required. Online and automated means real-time views and instantaneous information about what is going on both on the ground and in people’s minds.
Market researchers are also grappling with research priorities and data capture best practices. Our advice is to consider the following:
- Are you going ahead with an intended product or service? If so, you would want customer feedback and should go ahead with your research albeit perhaps in a different way.
- Do you need to change your offering to better suit the changed needs of your customer in these new times? You need to conduct research to connect with your customers to establish what direction to take.
- Can it be done online? To uphold new safety guidelines and make use of amazing research technology that will give you faster and accurate real time results, market research is good practice.
Author: Yael Benjamin from Interact RDT