Technology and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship. Some tech promises to do one thing and then does another. When I pick the right technology, though, my workflows become more efficient and makes my life easier. That includes market research technology. When I use it in an integrated and effective manner, it makes that relationship all love and no hate.
Of course, technology continuously evolves. It also helps to centralize your data, implement customer-led strategies and have the right levels of buy-in of customer insights strategies across the organization.
In this article, let’s dive into how market research technology can help us understand our customers and create great experiences for them.
For years, Fortune 500 executives have overwhelmingly said that customer insights are important. But few of those executives said they were happy with their current customer insights, said Rick Kelly, chief product officer at Fuel Cycle, a Voxpopme partner.
“It’s on insights professionals to change the delivery model,” Rick said on an episode of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.” “It’s a huge priority and hasn’t always been delivered the way it ought to be.”
How can market research technology help brands?
Even before the pandemic, there was rapid change and it’s continuing, Rick said. Consumers have a ton of choices — especially in competitive verticals.
“It’s been really disruptive to a lot of legacy organizations,” Rick said.
That makes understanding our customers even more important. But the insights profession has grown much more slowly, he said, adding, “That doesn’t make any sense, and market research hasn’t done the job it needs to do.”
Using the most cohesive technology can help insights professionals move quickly and show impact.
“Our market research cloud allows our customers to be in constant connection with their customers, prospects and users through solutions that allow them to accelerate decision-making,” Rick said.
Market research technology can help through:
Automation of analysis
Traditionally, Rick said, companies wouldn’t naturally “marry” approaches. And there certainly is enough data in many organizations. But how do you make the analysis easier?
One way is to have one place for the data and use machine learning and other technology to make processes easier. Keep in mind that some processes that once worked no longer work in a “data-abundant world,” Rick said.
“There are limits to human scale and to comb through data,” Rick said.
Market research technology can help make that possible.
“There’s no reason that qualitative research, once it’s been processed, can’t be used as structured data,” he said. “We ask survey questions to get structured data from unstructured thoughts.”
“It’s data overload right now. And if we can get that right, how do we marry it all together,” said Jenn Vogel, vice president of marketing at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.”
“A mountain of data isn’t useful on its own,” she said. “It’s useful when you can summarize some new insight into one sentence to say, ‘This is what this means to our business, our customer.’ That’s where the insights team can shine.”
And then use the new processing capabilities of market research technology to turn insights into action, Rick added. With the help of technology, we can get the results, not in six weeks or even six days, but in six minutes, Rick said.
“And still be accurate,” Jenn added.
The Voxpopme platform, for example:
- Automatically transcribes all video feedback answers.
- Categorizes answers and sentiment.
Market research technology — Voxpopme’s platform, for example — can provide feedback fast. On a Valentine’s Day project, I was able to get 100 responses in just a few hours. They were automatically analyzed for sentiment and topics. I could quickly skim through machine-generated scripts.
“If I need feedback from customers, I can’t wait four to six weeks for a survey or a focus group to get done,” Rick said. “I need to know something right away so we can prioritize it in the development process.”
The same applies to other areas of the business as well, like advertising or marketing campaigns.
“Even smaller companies are now equipped with the tools to innovate on product and go-to-market strategy, just as fast or faster as enterprises are,” he said. “Market research needs to accelerate timelines and get user feedback to stakeholders in a much more user-friendly way than is done today.”
The evolution of market research technology
Rick predicts that market research technology will move to additional roles — like UX designer, marketers and others. Those people then can push buttons and quickly get the insights they need to make decisions in real-time or near real-time.
Jenn said this access can be seen as a threat by an insights team or an opportunity to offer even more value to help the company use customer insights in the best way possible.
Of course, some companies don’t have an insights team and the marketing team handles all research, Jenn said.
“I was just talking to a marketing team at a large organization, and they don’t have an insights team and have no intention of building a customer insights team,” she said.
“It’s really an opportunity to level up the approach,” Rick added. “Having strategic advisors and putting tools into their hands is an opportunity.”
Market research technology is giving stakeholders direct access, Rick said.
Insights professional Brenna Ivey also discussed this on another episode of “Reel Talk,” discussed how she worked on giving everyone access to insights.
“My work ‘love’ language is when I see” stakeholders in documents months after a project has been completed, she said. They are looking for an answer, and it’s easy to find.
Rick mentioned that when market research technology is easy to use, stakeholders are more likely to use it.
“It’s like when you get a lot of good reinforcement for posting a picture on Instagram, you’ll post more,” he said. “It’s just like that.”
As the barriers for user adoption are removed, more research can get done.
“Of course, that’s a high hill to climb,” Rick said, adding that data cleanup and other integrations are involved.
Jenn said companies often use dozens of different technologies.
“With everything living in different places, I can only imagine the repetition of the research and the issues that come from that kind of setup,” Jenn said. “It’s not just getting the technology working, but it’s also getting everyone on the same page. This is what we are going to be using with all the data in the same place.”
Rick added that using an integrated system also can simplify operations and privacy concerns.
Chief information officers are trying to reduce the surface areas where customer data is stored,” Rick said.
Different platforms working together also is important. For example, Voxpopme has an extensive partner network that includes Fuel Cycle.
Integration of different software solutions is an ongoing process.
For example, some Voxpopme customers also use Zoom to gather customer feedback — in addition to the Voxpopme platform. So we’ve built an integration that allows for easy uploads of Zoom videos. Once the video feedback has been imported, our platform automatically:
- Transcribes it.
- Analyses it.
- Makes it searchable with all of a brand’s other research projects.
Market research technology — like all technology — continues to evolve. It should make life easier for insights professionals and others who are trying to understand their customers.
That’s how we started Voxpopme and how we are continuing our journey — with our customers, partners and the customer experience community — to use market research technology to create better experiences for our customers.