Traditional vs Digital Market Research Methods
Digital media has given birth to many new forms of customer research. Many businesses
are now embracing the many new methodologies and we have seen how the marketers have adapted
the digital methodologies over traditional methods. They do this because the new digital research
methods are seen to be much cheaper, quicker and drive more results. But is it really worth
foregoing the traditional methods for the more hyped up Digital research Methods? Let's explore
the pros and cons for each.
Traditional Research Methods
The traditional research methods require respondents to be face to face or involved in
verbal conversations. Examples of these would be Qualitative Focus Groups, In-Depth Interviews,
Ethnography, Accompanied Shopping, and Intercepts.
Traditional Research methods create environments where the moderator has the power to
intervene, challenge and question the participants at any point of the study. It allows for
the researcher to be flexible and makes the discussions more natural. It also allows the researcher
to identify non-verbal cues such as micro expressions on the face, body language, behavior
and intonation. It is proven in the past that what people don't' say but do accounts for more
of what is the truth. It is this that makes the data gathered during traditional methods to
be rather richer and more in-depth.
It is the cost however of conducting research through these methodologies that makes
it vulnerable. It is the cost of time and money that is required to set it up that makes companies
feel that there should be alternative methodologies that can be used to gather similar data
while bringing down cost. Imagine trying to gather people of very specific demographics to
participate in a product testing group.
The cost of each product to be used, the cost of participation, cost of researchers and
moderators, plus many more misc expenses seemingly adds up and the process of gathering data
that is coherent to reflect the general public's potential feedback to the product takes a lot
of time and can span from a few weeks to as long as years. Something that companies are not
willing to wait out.
Digital Research Methods
With the massive growth of smartphone users that have enable them to wirelessly interact
and connect to people through social networks has provided market researchers with the power
to interact and communicate with their targets more easily. From online chat lines to sms messaging,
the means as to how researchers are able to reach the people they need to talk to is evolving
and is becoming more efficient at capturing information.
Some of the tools used in digital research methods are online surveys, online focus groups,
online communities and forums, social networking sites such as twitter, Facebook, Instagram,
and many more.
It is through these digital research tools that researchers are able to reach a much
wider field of targets of varying age groups, ethnicities, and cultures taking down the many
barriers that traditional research methods would normally face. It even allows people the means
to interact and share their thoughts anonymously, which is useful in topics that are sensitive
Data gathered from digital research methods are easily stored and analyzed. It is also
rather instantaneous as the information is immediately logged in as the respondents input their
feedback in real-time. The amount of data gathered at any given time is only limited to the
number of people that are pooled to respond through these mediums which if done properly can
reach anywhere between 100 to 100,000 or more. Making it extremely cost effective as this would
cut the need for travel, participation and many other over head misc expenses that traditional
methodologies would have to shell out to get the same number of participants.