Traditionally, market research involved extended time in direct conversation with consumers, but a lot has changed since the advent of online research options.

Researchers might find that much of the conversation at conferences and in online articles revolves around the latest tech or features (blockchain, artificial intelligence, cross-project analysis, and so on). However, if you strip it all back to basics, what is at the core of market research?

We want brands to make more impactful decisions – but how? By putting the consumer at the center of their strategy. Read on to find out how you can use sample and iterative testing to prepare your research team for the future, keeping your insights accurate and impactful.

Making Sure You Ask the Right People the Right Questions at the Right Time (All of the Time)

Vegan millennials who like hip-hop and wear tutus might be the perfect audience for your products or services, but these categorizations are unnecessary.

It’s important not to confuse your ideal customers with your target audience. This distinction is less costly and will give you access to data that’s much more reliable and applicable to the kind of people who’ll be buying your product.

Narrowing the field by enough – but not by too much – sounds like an intricate and complex balancing act, but when sample selection is automated, users save time; they need not rely on manual field management or fear human error.

This intelligent approach to sample (Zappi Audiences) cuts admin out of project management and allows comparisons to be made across multiple projects.

Users can also look at category-specific consumers, and those who use competing brands, all in one place. This provides a distinct advantage over organizations still messing about with clipboards and spreadsheets – manual processes outweighed by a list of cons (including, but not limited to: high cost, time-consuming data entry, and lackluster sample sizes).

Online, you can launch a research project and, in as little as a day later, alter your brand strategy to speed ahead of competitors.

Research Lifecycles: Testing at Each Stage of the Advertising and Development Process

Insights departments tend not to like paying for more surveys, so they’ll sometimes combine as much data as possible into just one survey. This increases cost, makes surveys much longer (not to mention decreases the response rate) and risks accuracy, rendering the results so bloated that they can’t be used effectively anyway – leaving important business questions unanswered.

Though they may not realize it yet, these insights departments can afford (and draw clear benefits from) conducting multiple tests throughout the development process, rather than just a big one at the front end. This spreads the cost, shortens surveys, increases accuracy, and supplies clear, actionable insights.

With iterative, automated testing, clients can afford to run more studies, more frequently

Iterative testing is the crux of effective consumer insights: once you’ve established your target audience and conduct, say, an ideas-ranking test, it’s important you return to the consumer later for further feedback.

Why? Because testing among your target audience (on variables such as pricing, naming, packaging, logos, as well as advertising campaigns – from ideation to execution) prevents teams from running full-steam ahead with ill-formed ideas from one initial test.

Repetition is key. Test time after time and, with a platform like Zappi, you’ll build an invaluable library of results (a unique norms database). Next time, you’ll be equipped with a measure of your own success to rally against.

This is the gateway to obtaining a much deeper understanding of what your target audience truly likes and what they’re most likely to want in future (which is where features such as our fancy cross-project analysis come in).

Conclusion: The Consumer Is Your Colleague, Collaborator, and Comrade

For any project to succeed, close collaboration with whoever benefits is an absolute necessity:

  • Greenlighting an idea and rushing to completion is risky – to execute on time without any discrepancies is unlikely
  • Marketers who do this are denying their consumers the ability to elaborate further on their preferences or change their minds
  • As we’re all uniquely aware, the reality is that new information arises throughout the development process

So let’s be real. It’s crucial that the answers to difficult questions are sought, not from those in the boardroom, but from your authentic (and occasionally fickle) audiences.


Join our webinar to learn more about how you can obtain accurate, actionable data direct from your consumers. Find out what makes our tested approach so clever.

You’ll learn about:

  • How current approaches to audience can’t keep pace with changing consumer habits
  • Zappi’s automated approach to complex audiences and respondent experience
  • How we’re balancing panels to reach a more representative respondent set
  • How we’re using data science to understand and enhance respondent quality
  • Zappi’s vision for audiences in the future

We’ll look forward to seeing you online: August 9th 2018, 12:00 PM  EST / 4:00 PM GMT.

Robyn Patnode

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Robyn Patnode

Robyn Patnode brings her background and knowledge of online sampling to Zappistore as the Director of Sampling for the Americas. Robyn comes from 10 years at a leading global panel company. Her background includes research methodologies, sampling best practices and vendor management.

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