Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas Series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Andrew Konya will be speaking at IIeX North America (June 12-14 in Atlanta). If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX NA. Click here to learn more.
Nearly all market research aims to illuminate the nature of an experience. We conduct research to understand the experience of using a product, watching a live sports broadcast, or working at a particular company. The understanding is then used to inform decisions and carry out actions which impact that experience the next time. This iterative cycle of ‘research, understand, decide, & act’ serves as the bedrock of change and innovation.
However, all research is not created equal. Most research is conducted after the experience being researched has taken place. This means that what is really being researched is the memory of the experience – often a distorted, low-resolution proxy of the experience itself. Sometimes, this memory may be exactly what we wish to understand; for example, researching how a person remembers an ad. Other times the experience being researched may be simple enough that a low-resolution understanding gets the job done.
In many cases, though, the experience being researched is complex & the nuggets of insight decision makers crave are found in the multi-dimensional nuances of a complete experience. For example, a sports fan’s experience with the broadcast of their favorite team may involve traditions with friends & family, cooking & food, social media interaction, consumption of advertisements, and even co-occurrent purchasing habits. Each of these components combines to create a cohesive experience. Thus, truly understanding the experience requires understanding the complex web of experiential components.
In cases like these, where an undistorted, high-resolution understanding of the experience is crucial, real-time research can be key. So what is real-time market research and how do you get the most out of it?
– Is conducted throughout the experience being researched.
– Informs the researcher about each stage of the experience at the time that stage is taking place.
– Adapts to deviations from the expected experience as those deviations take place.
Tips to getting the most out of real-time market research:
1. Develop hypothesis ahead of time but keep an open mind.
2. Adapt and adjust to new findings quickly.
3. Focus on remaining “in the moment” — stay relevant to the experience as it happens.
4. Maintain interactions with research participants which do not substantially change the experience you are aiming to understand.
To learn more about in-experience research, please attend IIeX North America to see how NASCAR conducted research of its fans during this year’s Daytona 500.
For additional perspectives on the topic, check out these related IIeX talks:
- Rapid Response Research: Delivering In-The-Moment Insights to Drive Agile Business Development
- Breathing Life into Real-time Brand Tracking