01 July 2008

Online Market Research

Market research is, in very general terms, a means for providers of goods and services to keep themselves in touch with the needs and wants of those who buy and use the goods and services. From discovering a gap in the market to ensuring customer satisfaction and planning effective marketing campaigns, research can provide the market intelligence needed to encourage success, enhance competitiveness and maximize profits.

It involves the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of information relating to the transfer and sale of goods and services from producer to consumer, together with systematic problem analysis, model building and fact finding for the purposes of improved decision making and control in marketing goods and services.

Online research has revolutionized research, providing both opportunities and challenges to researchers and users of research. On the positive side, the growth of online technology has enabled researchers to offer clients a fast and cost effective method for reaching their target audiences. Online research as a proportion of the whole market is growing rapidly.
  • Large numbers of respondents can be researched at one time.
  • International boundaries no longer need to be an obstacle to research –worldwide.
    Research can be conducted at the click of a button .
  • It can be an inexpensive way to conduct large research projects - it is possible to get thousands of responses for just a few thousand Rupees.
  • Pre-screened panels. Most large research suppliers have access panels, which provide an easily accessible, reliable respondent base, which can respond promptly to online questionnaires.
  • It allows for a very rapid turnaround – research can be undertaken and results received within a few days. Many research suppliers now offer same-day delivery of results.

Commissioning an Online Research:

Provide the researcher with a detailed brief. It is essential that both parties understand exactly what you are hoping to achieve from the research to avoid confusion and disappointment later on.Focus on the important issues. Is getting your results quickly more important than gaining in-depth information? Decide what is most important to you for this exercise.

Make certain that the researcher has the necessary resources to interview a representative sample. This is essential for achieving accurate results. There is a concern that internet research could allow for greater levels of deception from respondents. Pre-screened access panels greatly reduce this risk and allow agencies fast access to a representative audience.

A Word Of Warning:

Although the potential for higher speed and lower costs involved in online research makes it an attractive method for interviewing a large sample of people, care should be taken that over reliance on the internet does not allow your business to lose its human touch.

With online research, possibly more than with any other variety, there is a strong need for creativity. Grafting old ways onto new technologies will not assist the development of online research and will result in the Internet losing its value to businesses as a research tool. Companies looking to take advantage of the benefits that new technology allows must ensure that they are pushing for the highest professional standards and constantly challenging the norm.

“Internet research offers many opportunities, most of which are currently unexplored. This is an exciting time for companies to consider the possibility of online surveys and a definite growth area for the future. However, it is important that its significant potential is harnessed correctly.”