Global market research must now focus less on precision and more on direction, according to a visiting specialist from Canada, Dr Darrell Bricker. The CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs told a group of researchers and market clients in Auckland recently that research has never been harder.
Dr Bricker says there are issues around respondent co-operation, the need for speed, and the artificiality of the research process – the difference between what people say and what they actually do.
“But if I’m testing an ad I want to know if trends are up or down: I don’t need to know by how much. I just need to know if it’s going to work or not.
“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king…. People are looking for things that are fast, directional and can give the best answers.”
Ipsos Public Affairs specialises in social research and corporate reputation.
Dr Bricker says it is becoming increasingly possible to compare data across the globe and especially in developing markets where the market growth is.
“But we have more than enough data. What we need is meaning.”
He says research methodologies have transitioned through sourcing most data through mail panels, to using telephones and then online access panels. Dr Bricker says these old systems of market research are now morphing into “multi-modal research” which combines the advantages of these earlier methodologies.
It also increasingly employs “river sampling” which uses the net in its more dynamic configuration, enabling researchers to dip in to insights through media such as Twitter, Facebook or loyalty panels, supplementing such information with data from other panels, and using a routing system to try to randomise who is being cited across surveys.
Dr Bricker says river sampling is not yet standard practice “but you can see the future on the horizon”.
“It’s about trying to treat the internet like the dynamic environment that it is.”
See more comment from Dr Bricker in NZ Management magazine’s June 2012 issue.
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