How valuable is data-driven market research?

Dr. Korbinian Spann
Dr. Korbinian Spann
29. August 2021
In the age of data-driven marketing, measuring success and calculating quantitative, directly attributable key performance indicators (KPIs) are on every company’s agenda. These include:

  • Return-on-Adspend (ROAS)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)
  • Conversion Rate (CR)

However, there are still some areas of marketing that are not easy to measure and assign to specific channels. These include consumer behavior, which is changing faster today than ever before.

Classical market research not sufficient

Generally speaking, market research is more important today than ever before in order to explore one’s target group and provide answers to questions about customer preferences. In most cases, active surveys and interviews are used as a basis in classic market research for this purpose.

The biggest problem with the methodology, however, is that consumers are influenced during active questioning (Interviewer Bias), as well as giving answers that are seen as socially desirable (Social Desirability Bias). It is therefore hardly possible to find out the unbiased and uninfluenced “real” opinion of the target group through surveys and to classify these results as representative.

In addition, advancing globalization is causing competitive pressure to increase dramatically and, at the same time, increasing digitization is enabling new companies, provided they have the right knowledge, to reach their target group more precisely across different channels than ever before. Thus, it is becoming increasingly crucial for companies to clearly know the desires and needs of their target group in order to address them in the best possible and most cost-effective way.

Qualitative findings from surveys and focus groups can be a first starting point, but these results can only be linked poorly or not at all with other quantitative KPIs (such as the conversion rate). Thus, today the world of online marketing, which is largely based on clicks, and the world of market research are still largely incompatible.

At the same time, the speed of recognizing new trends and reacting flexibly to them is becoming increasingly important. So our customers want to know how market research can be sustainably linked to the data-driven world of online marketing.

An example in the context of outdoor clothing: when customers are asked about the ideal features of a rain jacket, they lack a comparison of all the products available on the market. The answers given thus relate only to the respondents’ own experience and perspective.

For these reasons, so-called assisted surveys are a valuable source in the first step, but they only provide statements from a limited number of consumers and cannot be easily generalized.

Data-driven market research enables connection with online marketing metrics

In contrast to classic market research, data-driven market research offers a way to collect insights from direct and uninfluenced customer communication from a variety of communication channels. These include, for example, emails, forums, blogs, support tickets and many more. Here, the problems and concerns of consumers come to light openly and unadorned, which at the same time can be compared well with classic market research.

Data-driven market research examines statements made by the target group that are organic, voluntary and completely uninfluenced. It is important to understand that in most cases this data is already available in various channels, but that many companies do not yet evaluate it.

Evaluation with the help of data-driven market research also makes a new calculation of marketing ROI possible, as new factors of customer engagement become measurable at all. It can be shown more quickly which features customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with and which touchpoints are important for them.

The classic metrics from online marketing such as “Monthly Active Users” or “Time Spend on Site” can thus be combined with qualitative insights to answer the question of why customers prefer a particular product over another. The speed of marketing and development of products can also be increased and thus also the effectiveness.

Data-driven market research

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