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Friday, 13 June 2008

The Changing Face of Market Research

A recent article in The Australian highlighted developments in the Market Research industry as new techniques emerge to deal with new types of media and changing patterns of usage.

"MASS media are about to become the best customers of the market research industry, pending millions of dollars to develop new audience measurement systems in the coming two to three years."

As people increase their use of new kinds of communication, whether one-way (digital TV) or interactive (email, social media), new challenges and opportunities arise.

One the one hand, new methods for tracking what people are doing and when they are doing it need to be developed. On the other hand, increasing use of interactive technology creates new avenues for tracking consumer behaviour.

The internet provides new ways of providing information on consumer behaviour and a new sub-industry of online panels has arisen virtually overnight. Companies like emailcash, Research Now and Pure Profile now manage large memberships of people willing to complete online surveys.

Some researchers have concerns about representativeness of such panels. After all, not everyone has access to the internet, and it is quite possible that certain types of people (and therefore certain types of consumer) are more likely to sign up for an online panel. Recent studies however are putting those fears to rest and show that comparision of results between on-line panels and traditional phone surveys, the results are usually close.

At the same time, Jon Krosnick of Stanford University recently published findings that found that online panels can be less representative, but that their findings (based on quality questionnaire design and analysis techniques by experience researchers) are more reliable and stable.

In line with this trend, Taverner Research has developed strong capabilities in online research, formed strong relationships with online panel providers, and we continue to innovate in this area.

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posted by Dave

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