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ESOMAR Paper “Smart MR Using Dumb Phones” – Part 2 : Top 5 Mobile Research Future Trends



[Editor’s Note: As a follow-up to his post ESOMAR Paper “Smart MR Using Dumb Phones” – Part 1 : Setting the Mobile Plot Navin Williams makes 5 predictions regarding mobile market research.]

By Navin Williams

In addition to presenting our paper at the conference I also put on my soothsayer’s hat. I took a shot at predicting the Top 5 Mobile Market Research trends. These are based on my experience doing mobile research globally, following adoption trends and talking to industry leaders at both the agency and client sides.

If you believe that we can enhance market research by expanding its reach and harness the power of the mobile you should find value in these “Top 5 Market Research Trends” presented at ESOMAR’s 2011 APAC conference at Melbourne.  The last 5 slides of the presentation contain the Top 5 MR trends.

  1. Mobile As A Sample Frame – Today mobiles have not only saturated developed markets. it is helping developing nations leapfrog and bypass online altogether. In the bottom half of the pyramid, the most important purchase after food is a mobile phone. So if you aren’t selling staple foods, chances that a non-mobile consumer will even glance at your product looks very remote. But the ball is moving fast; in India alone 20 million users are added every month! So mobile as a “sample frame” which grows with the opportunity is definitely a trend being embraced by marketers.
  2. Hybrid Mobile MR solutions – There are so many research channels out there, be it Online, F2F, CATI etc… Similarly within Mobile there’s SMS, WAP, App, Bluetooth, GPS and many more. Solutions that take the best from multiple channels and fuse them together to get the best insights for our clients is what is desired, not any single source. Here the nature of mobile and its ability to add value to capture consumer insights “anytime, anywhere & in the moment of truth” is unmatched.
  3. Instant Reporting – We have all oft heard “time is money”, and these days marketers are running product life cycles on steroids. Given this the urgency of market intelligence reaching our clients has never been greater. Live reporting (geography independent) via pre-formatted dashboards and reporting matrixes allowing researchers and clients to watch data being populated live, is going to get increasingly in vogue. This of course will only be 50 – 80% of the story: the insight providers will have to weed out the gems further from this. The core objectives though would have already been delivered so the researchers can concentrate on finding gems.
  4. Social Media & Tech Savvy Teams – This is happening as we speak. People and nations are changing – how they relate to each other and how they relate to technology is shifting at a faster pace than ever before;  mobile has played a large hand here too. A lot of us still look at social media and digital + mobile technology as an enabler for helping us keep in step with the changing world around us the coming generation don’t look at it that way! It is part of their DNA. Short attention spans and doing 50 things simultaneously is here to stay. Couple that with having to evolve new skills (note evolve, not learn) and our teams are going to change to being not just multi skilled, but heavy users and people instrumental in evolving the digital world. Not adapters but adopters & inventors. So don’t fight it, join the party as those who embrace it will thrive.
  5. Mobile Goes Shopping – And finally, the big deal is that mobile is already being recognized and valued by consumers – “shopping”. Consumers are increasingly checking product prices across retailers before purchasing using mobiles, purchasing goods and undertaking financial transactions via their mobiles. For many services mobile is expected to be the purchase method of choice. Given that mobiles are going to be a dominant force in the shopping landscape, understanding mobile shoppers is getting more and more critical.

So I ask you “Your consumers have gone mobile – has your market research?”

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One response to “ESOMAR Paper “Smart MR Using Dumb Phones” – Part 2 : Top 5 Mobile Research Future Trends

  1. Let me also be a soothsayer and add to the trend list:

    1. branded mobile communities to complement online communities. It is the shortest path for brands to engage with their consumers on the phone (versus switching on a pc) and having the added advantage of capturing them closest to the moment of truth.

    2. New and better currency for measuring outdoor advertising. With the growth (comeback) of OOH advertising, this is one to look out for.

    3. MR companies will digitize their entire field force for face-to-face data collection without the need to invest in any hardware. Just leverage on the interviewer’s own handphones! Our experience showed us that the benefits of cost and time savings are so significant that it cannot be ignored. Asia will be first to do this because of our challenging MR landscape and mounting pressure to cut costs.

    4. The holy grail of research will come true – Mobile gives us unprecedented way of capturing in-the-moment experience of consumers. More and more enterprises will adopt mobile research as a cost effective way of collecting feedback from their customers. And like what Mr. Navin Williams said, plug in real-time reporting, these enterprises will be able to develop better internal and industry benchmarks.

    Mobile research must grow in tandem with the growth of mobile devices adoption to capture this golden opportunity to create a new feedback culture for consumers. Online river methodology was developed as an afterthought to get fresh respondents. The phenomenal rate of adoption of mobile means that we don’t need to go down that path. ESOMAR and other governing bodies must start now take on both the roles of encouraging the use of mobile research and educate the public about it. Researchers can speed that up by taking calculated risks and work with mobile experts to develop smart solutions.

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