Putting the Consumer Back in Consumer Research

Posted: 2015.09.25

It is all too typical these days for companies involved in marketing and consumer research (MCR) to claim that their business is putting the consumer smack dab in the middle of their strategy. They claim that they conduct research in a consumer-centric way, when in reality they seem to be doing just the opposite.

A large number of different marketing practices for a wide range of marketing sectors means that each different company is conducting their research from the point of view of the hands that are feeding them, and not from the point of view other consumer. This is not going to cut it in the modern world.

A new landscape

Unlike in past years, the consumer is now in full control of their ad experience - or at least nearly in full control. They no longer are forced to watch commercials on television before their program comes back on, or be hit with an ad they didn't suspect when they turn the page of a magazine.

The same goes for the way that research is conducted. They are at the helm when it comes to how they engage in research. Today's customer gets to choose who they want to get their media from, where they want it, how they want it, and which device they are going to get it from; the same is true for their interaction with MCR. It is on companies to adapt to this, and not the other way around.

Consumer experience is key

The major challenge is finding a way to weave MCR into the customer. Old-fashioned questionnaires to groups of "potential" consumers are going the way of the dodo. What we are going to need is more direct and immediate research into the customer experience. For example, when they complete a transaction we could ask if it was pleasant, or take a cue from Skype where the caller is asked about call quality immediately when they hang up. Again, it is important to remain balanced here. You can't throw it in their face every time they fire up their browser, or pepper them with questions the moment they open a mobile app.

Modern consumer research

CIS specializes in modern consumer research. Our techniques hinge on real-time, in-person surveys that allow us to directly interact with customers and gather feedback while your customers are still in the process of experiencing your product or service. We are able to get right to what they are thinking in the moment. We capture what they are thinking as they are buying, immediately after buying, or even when they decide not to. Weaving consumer research into the fabric of their experience is our speciality.

MCR is too often done from the point of the view of the companies paying the research institutions, and not from that of the consumer. Focusing on the who, what, when, where, and why in real time is the solution to a changing economic and technological landscape. Through in-store surveys, our in-depth consumer research is done at the moment of truth - while they are still in the experience - to provide you with the best, most relevant information as possible.

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