Competency-Directed Research Methods, Part I

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 textual analysis research method 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.

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.

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.