When it comes down to it, market research is very simple: find a market, ask it questions about products and services, then respond to its wants. Of course, this is an oversimplification, but there was a time when this was nearly true, and market research businesses had a remarkably straightforward job. Market research, on the other hand, has become a far more sophisticated and ever-changing beast that need continual monitoring and tracking to keep up with.
Keeping up isn't always enough, and to advance from a competent marketer to an industry leader, you'll need to have a strong sense of what's coming up in the future and be willing to alter and adapt. But how do you know what the future has in store for you? What's more, how can you know which fresh developments will fail? We've compiled a list of new technologies and developments in current technology that we believe will have a significant impact on market research in the coming year.
Artificial intelligence has been portrayed as being just around the corner for years (if not decades) to assure our eternal damnation or salvation, depending on which side of the bed the media gets out of. The truth is that artificial intelligence will not become a dominant technology instantly (a la I-Robot), but rather, like all new technologies, it will emerge piecemeal over time.
There are several examples of artificial intelligence in our daily lives, like Spotify music recommendations, Google results, Google maps, and, of course, your smart speaker. Machine learning influences practically every decision we make, and examples of artificial intelligence are not only plentiful, but also difficult to avoid.
Marketers will find this technology extremely useful and vital in predicting market trends and consumer behaviour. Even in the post-GDPR world, when data is rigorously regulated, the amount of data we generate and send over to machine learning algorithms is startling. Because there isn't enough time for this to be screened and analysed by a large number of people, AI and its vast capabilities of identifying, tracking, and progressing patterns in your behaviour come into play.
While AI's growth will have a significant impact on the market research sector, it won't be noticeable at first and will gradually gain acceptance.
Individual Customer Journey
When mass production took off and specialised retailers were crushed by superstores, the individual customer journey seemed to vanish somewhere in the twentieth century. People are growing to expect the personal touch again these days. Consider how many microbreweries, gin suppliers, personalised water bottles, family silhouette photos, and other products have popped up in recent years. The capitalist side of your brain says things shouldn't work, but they do, and part of the reason is that the client is an active participant in the journey and is prepared to pay for it.
This isn't limited to small boutique firms; there are hundreds of examples of large corporations providing a personalised experience to their clients. Take Netflix, for example. It is unquestionably one of the world's largest and most well-known organisations, and yet it makes recommendations tailored to you. Consider the Netflix recommendation emails you receive on a regular basis; they are truly rather unique to you, and if you follow the recommendations, you will most certainly enjoy the shows it suggests.
So, where does technology come into play here, you might wonder? So, how do you suppose Netflix, with its massive algorithm that considers dozens of variables, forecasts these recommendations? The obvious aspects are the things you've watched again and over, but there are also hundreds of minor details, such as things you've hovered over for a little longer than normal.
Over the last eight years, SEO has evolved from a very straightforward method of spamming a website with links to something far more intricate and nuanced. In 2012, Google Penguin was released, and it marked the beginning of Google's crackdown on so-called "Black-Hat" SEO methods. The pre-Penguin days are long gone, thanks to Google's algorithm adjustments, and marketers must ensure that their marketing methods are as clean and appropriate as possible.
Advanced SEO is the technique of predicting and catering to Google's algorithm upgrades, ensuring that your domain is ready for them. Unlike the fundamentals of SEO, these aren't methods that can be picked up in a matter of days or even a few months, and they necessitate a thorough understanding of Google's history and developments. While most firms realised, they needed at least some help from an in-house SEO or an agency a long time ago, anticipate those smart, experienced SEOs to be picked up by forward-thinking enterprises in the coming year.