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Market Research Strategy Trends in the Fortune 500
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Market Research Strategy Trends in the Fortune 500

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Fortune 500 researchers often juggle the need to deliver fresh customer insights with the mandate to minimize research costs. How do they do it? By cutting costs where they can, and embracing cool new …

Fortune 500 researchers often juggle the need to deliver fresh customer insights with the mandate to minimize research costs. How do they do it? By cutting costs where they can, and embracing cool new technologies when applicable. Here are three strategies currently being embraced by Fortune 500 market researchers.

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  • 1. Market Research Strategy Trends in the Fortune 500Fortune 500 researchers often juggle the need to deliver fresh customer insights with the mandateto minimize research costs. How do they do it? By cutting costs where they can, and embracingcool new technologies when applicable. Here are three strategies currently being embraced byFortune 500 market researchers.#1: Market Research Using In-House PanelsCompanies often rely on third-party panels as a sample source for survey research (for example,you may use EMI, SSI ort USamp for your online surveys). Third-party panels offer appealingconvenience and predictability. Still, if your research requires focusing on your own customerbase or special screening criteria, third party panels may not be the most cost-effective choice.As a result, some companies have invested in building their own in-house panels. For certaintarget markets and populations of interest, an in-house panel can reduce data collection costs andpay for itself quickly.Will an in-house panel be a good fit for the types of research your company does?  Your participants will know who is sponsoring the research, and that does introduce some bias (you are more likely to get panel members who already have strong awareness of your brand and even a preference for it). Is that an acceptable trade-off to your organization?  If some of your research needs to be with more random populations, you need to ask yourself, “Are my panel members an acceptable proxy for the broader target market?” Or, will you have budget to augment those studies with a third party panel?Of course, if you do a lot of online surveys with your customer base, it’s more of a slam dunk. Inthese cases, it makes sense to really mange your customer list as a panel, by giving them theoption of opting in to a panel program, and tracking their participation.#2: Augmenting Traditional Market Research with Social Media InsightsMany market researchers now accept social media-gleaned insights as a way to inform marketresearch projects. By monitoring social media conversations using various tools such asBuzzmetrics, Crimson Hexagon, Radian6 and Trackur, corporate researchers can discover trendsin brand sentiment and even gather product feedback without going out and asking for it. Whilein many cases, this type of research is viewed as more “qualitative” and directional, as opposedto “quantitative,” it does have value. The large amount of social media content that getsgenerated worldwide every day is a rich source of data that can be analyzed using cool newtechnologies (in the form of text analytics and sentiment analysis tools). Opinions are divided
  • 2. about how best to use the data, but many corporate researchers are embracing it at minimum for“discovery” studies as a Phase 1 (to inform a more significant survey project as a Phase 2) andmany use it for general WOM or buzz monitoring (often as an early warning system).To learn more about social media research, please download this white paper from ResearchRockstar.#3: Seeing the Future: Prediction Markets as a Market Research MethodSome Fortune 500 researchers are starting to test prediction markets as a market researchmethod. A prediction market is simply a web-based platform to generate, prioritize, and assesspredictions. Want to know which of several new products will sell more? Maybe you want toknow what behaviors will be more common in your target market by 2015. How about findingout brand perceptions by asking which of your top four competitors will have the most revenuegrowth next year? Ask the crowd, whether a broad or narrow one, by hosting a fantasy stockmarket or “poker chip” game. IdeaScale, Infosurv, and Inkling are just three of the platforms thatoffer trials. Again, new technologies are allowing corporate researchers to gain customer insightsquickly.Fortune 500 Market Researchers Spend Research Dollars WiselyJust because they work for big companies, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Fortune 500 marketresearchers have big budgets. They are just as eager as any other researchers to gather as muchinsight as possible while managing expenses. Today many are starting to take advantage of newtechnologies to do that. Still, it’s not about replacing well-tested, proven methodologies (such assurveys and focus groups); it’s often about augmenting them.Author Bio:For more expert tips on market research subscribe to Research Rockstars free newsletterat http://www.researchrockstar.com.Free Membership Pass: Get unlimited access to Research Rockstars mini-courses, newsletters, e-books, and RFP templates: http://www.researchrockstar.com/amember/signup.php.Have a market research question? Kathryn Korostoff is president of Research Rockstar, acompany that delivers online and in-person training to busy professionals seeking marketresearch excellence. Kathryn is a market research professional with a special interest in howorganizations acquire, manage, and apply market research. Over the past 20 years, she haspersonally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100bylined articles in trade magazines. http://twitter.com/ResearchRocks