Most businesses rely on surveys, focus groups, and other forms of research to identify what influences the attitudes and behaviour of customers. However, in an ever-changing consumer market, surveys and focus groups tend to tap into customers’ memories and fleeting impressions, which can be unreliable factors to use in deciding how to get ahead of the competition and serve customers better.
Want to better connect with consumers and more effectively utilise your customer data? Then you need to build a real-time research process for your marketing team to guide you in all your marketing efforts. Real-time data based on the information you collect about your target audience leads to more relevant marketing and, in turn, better marketing and business outcomes.
What is Real-Time Research?
Real-time research is a unique data collection method that gathers information on a customer’s experience as it is happening. In comparison to agile research or traditional market research methods, real-time research is all about the reality of a customer's experience rather than a customer’s reflection on products and services.
It’s the need for a more accurate understanding of consumer reflections and behaviour that gave way to this approach. Most market research methods are built on statistics, while real-time methods will be driven mostly by data science.
What are the Benefits of Using Real-Time Research?
Our accessibility to data has greatly improved since the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics. One example is the adoption of smartphones and how it has made it easier for businesses to gather data on a consumer’s purchase habits, location, and even browsing history, on a more consistent, real-time basis. As a result, the benefits of real-time research are numerous:
- Getting customer insights as they happen;
- Unbiased results due to the spontaneous nature of real-time customer behavior;
- Increased research confidence due to an increased data set and sample populations.
With real-time market research, you can collect thousands of data points around your brand, industry, competitors, or any chosen topic and punch them into an analytics platform to focus on certain demographics.
How Can I Apply Real-Time Research Data to My Online Marketing Efforts?
Before anything, it’s important to note that having the proper marketing software in place for your business is critical to accessing the benefits of real-time research. Not all marketing technologies are created equal. You should first look at the degree of research you want to dive into and select a marketing platform that can supply you with the tools you need for both data collection and analysis.
If you’re set on using real-time research to direct marketing for your business, connect your preferred marketing platforms to all your interaction points with customers, whether it be SMS, email, or social media.
Lastly, communicate your findings to the marketing team and act on them. Collecting data is one thing – analysis is another. You may choose to visualize insights through graphs and charts to better communicate them to the rest of your team. The key then for effective marketing decisions is for the team to base future activities on the data gathered.
Use Cases for Real-Time Research in Marketing
Businesses can use real-time research to strengthen their brand’s reputation, manage crises, and improve customer service. Some of its use cases in marketing are as follows:
Brand events include product launches and customer-facing events where content strategy, pre-approvals, media plans, hashtags, creative, and editorial calendars must be prepared in advance. Following hashtags on Twitter, for example, and jumping in on conversations surrounding them is a form of marketing based on real-time research.
Predictive Product Recommendations
Another relatively small but growing area of real-time research is based on predictive analytics. Amazon has long used predictive data to display recommendations to customers based on browsing and purchase history. This trend will gain momentum as data solutions become more accessible and simpler to implement.
Keeping Up with Real-Time Research
To stay afloat in a rapidly changing market landscape, businesses must explore new digital communication methods that can help market researchers target specific audiences more quickly, gather and analyze data and trends, and iterate more frequently. Enabling your marketing efforts with real-time data can help marketers deeply enrich and inform the dialogue they want to have with customers.
If you’re keen to learn more about real-time research and how you can use it to gain a competitive advantage in your industry, speak to one of our marketing specialists today for a free consultation on starting your digital transformation.
We hope this has been a helpful list of tips for marketing! If you need more advice on enhancing your marketing efforts, drop us a message to speak to a specialist who can guide your first steps.