Friday, September 07, 2007

Research, online and on-road

Reason to love marketing number 18 (I think): It constantly finds new ways to tackle problems. One such strand which certainly falls into that category has to be research. Love it or hate it (and we at AME Marketing definitely fall into the love category), it is one of the most important elements of marketing. You’ve heard us harp on before, but without proper planning, any marketing you do will be simply a stab in the dark and its effectiveness will purely be down to luck. But lecture aside, as I said, the great thing about research is, as well as being the foundation to any good marketing, it is also a discipline which is constantly evolving and coming up with new ideas about how to capture and analyse data.

One such recent evolution that has been in the blogosphere recently is the use of social networking sites to gather information. Facebook seems to be leading the way in this respect, with its polling application providing researchers with a quick way to find answers to simple questions. Users have simply to log in, type their question, specify a geographical area, sample size and boom, their survey is born. 100 interviews cost as little as $51 (around £25). Now, of course it is not going to replace traditional research completely, and it may be hard to ensure that a representative sample is gained, but it looks to have many advantages. For instance, it may just allow for better planning before larger scale studies are carried out and eliminate much of the cost associated with research when there are only a few questions to be answered. And, as time goes on, it is sure that the application will evolve and become more functional and more complex. My only concern would be how those on the site will respond to the application as time goes on. Personally I have ignored any surveys I have seen so far – but then, as a marketer I shouldn’t be taking part anyway...

On a slightly different tangent, another interesting method of collecting information has also been thrown up by the research company Hall & Partners. I read in last month’s Research magazine that the company had bought themselves their very own taxi to conduct research in. OK... Apparently most days it will operate as any other cab, however, at least once a month it will become the venue for mini interviews with the ‘regular’ people on the street. In exchange for offering their honest opinions on brands, advertising and the latest hot topics, those who ride in the black cab will be given a free ride to their destination. CEO of Hall & Partners Europe said of the venture “We are delighted at with the launch of our company taxi. We’re always looking for innovative techniques to help deliver real insights to our clients. What better way to get at the word-on-the-street than through asking everyday consumers’ honest opinions in the back of a black cab?” Sure, it won’t be representative, but I think it’ll certainly give a flavour of the general thinking on a variety of topics and brands. And the venture presents yet another reason to love marketing I reckon, and in particular market research – for at least one day per month it gives passengers the chance to talk and air their views instead of the taxi driver!

And what will be next in the world of research? It’s anyone’s guess.

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At 2:01 PM, Blogger Stan Lee said...

"And what will be next in the world of research? It’s anyone’s guess."

Speaking with my tongue wedged firmly in my cheek Lisa, I'd say that you'd be better off researching that question rather than resorting to the guesswork of anyone.


At 8:20 AM, Blogger Lisa Breslin said...

Ha, very true Stan, very true.


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