Journaling or writing in a diary is an age-old process researchers use in qualitative research to become familiar with the participants before a focus group. While this methodology helps capture deep insights from people’s daily lives, it is a time-consuming and laborious process.

So how do you get rich data and insights without going through reams of paper?

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What are mobile diaries?

As the name suggests, a mobile diary is an online qualitative research tool that enables researchers to gather data from respondents via a mobile-friendly format like an app, email, or text over an extended period. 

In most cases, researchers ask users to complete a pre and post-survey to gauge changes in perspectives before and after the mobile diary surveys. 

How do mobile diaries work?

Mobile diaries ideally work in small groups of preselected participants, and typically, here’s what the process looks like:

  1. The market researcher selects a smaller group of participants from the online survey panel and sends them instructions.
  2. Participants use a mobile diary tool to upload photos and videos about their perceptions, attitudes, feelings, behaviors, and daily lives.
  3. Researchers review and interpret the data for insights. 


Mobile diaries are a time-saver for market researchers

Mobile diaries allow market researchers to collect and process more responses than traditional methods like paper journaling. 

But this is not all; there are many other advantages of mobile diaries in market research over traditional methods. This tool allows market researchers to collect highly personalized, reliable, and accurate data. Additionally, participants can effortlessly share photos, videos, audio, and text, so researchers capture the emotions behind behaviors and attitudes.

This information is not easy to capture through traditional diaries or journaling as people won’t always have a pen and paper to jot things down but (almost) always have their mobile phone on hand.  

Three reasons mobile diaries are a better alternative than traditional methods and tools:

  1. Record “in-the-moment” responses 

Mobile diaries provide qualitative data that allows researchers to peel through the layers and record the respondents’ experiences when interacting with or using a product. For instance, when researching a particular meal kit service, the researcher can frame the questions to gain valuable information and insights into who they are, what they do, who they are with, and how they feel, so there is a context to the story. Mobile diaries, therefore, bring researchers closer to their users’ daily lives. 

  1. Reduce the time, money, and effort


Mobile diaries improve efficiency by reducing the cost of printing and distributing surveys. They save researchers time as they don’t have to work through reams of paper. 

  1. Enhance productivity

They provide the researcher with the tools to review the results in real-time and enhance productivity and efficiency. 

The difference between a Mobile Ethnography and a Mobile Diary

A Mobile Ethnography is a qualitative research method that allows users to respond to research questions and share information using an app on their phones.

Therefore, a mobile ethnography enables “in-the-moment” responses and real-time tracking, reviewing, and moderating like a mobile diary. It also captures emotions and has the shareability factor. Mobile ethnographies can be used to evaluate user behavior and response to advertising messages.

However, unlike a mobile diary, it lacks desktop capabilities, which limits the use of mobile ethnographies. In addition to responding to online surveys, mobile diaries enable users to log in to a desktop and participate in surveys, discussion forums, and focus groups.

These additional engagements can be invaluable for market research and provide rich nuggets of information to market researchers.

When should you utilize mobile diaries?

Mobile diaries are invaluable when collecting contextual and qualitative insights for market research. 

For instance, a mobile diary would be a good tool for researching the buying behavior of working moms aged 30-45 years. 

Mobile diaries can present broad or targeted information depending on the nature and scope of the market research study. 

Mobile diaries are widely used for: 

  1. Demystifying user behavior such as online shopping habits.
  2. Understanding user experience and interpreting user interactions with a website, product, device, or app. 
  3. Understanding how people search for and share information online or on specific topics like adopting a rescue animal.

Four examples of the use of Mobile Diaries in Market Research:

Use case 1

A grocery store brand wants to collect meaningful data on consumer experience. The researcher recruits a select group, and they have to enter their experience in a mobile diary every time they visit the store. 

Use case 2

A juice brand wants to learn more about its customers’ habits. They use mobile diaries to collect insights on when their customers drink juice, their favorite flavors, and other ways they use juice, such as in cocktails. 

Use Case 3

A high-end shampoo brand is rebranding and has new packaging. A select group is asked to answer questions regarding the packaging, dispenser, look, and feel of the packaging and the product.  

Use case 4

A meal delivery service has launched an app and wants to test the user experience. A select group of people uses a mobile diary to answer questions on how easy it is to navigate and the overall experience. 

Challenges presented by mobile diaries in market research

Like all good things, mobile diaries also present some challenges, like:

  1. It can become an annoyance for the respondents with too many notifications or alerts. 
  2. Data privacy issues 
  3. Long surveys 
  4. Not enough incentives for users

Market researchers can overcome these challenges by setting up surveys to make things easy for the respondents. They should also take the steps needed to protect user privacy. It is also essential to recruit the appropriate group for any study and incentivize them to complete the surveys. 

In a world of smartphones and connectivity, mobile diaries are a great alternative to traditional methods.

Smartphones are commonly used, and most people always have their phones on hand. Therefore, mobile diaries are a great way to gain valuable and qualitative insights from consumers as they are always within reach. They provide in-the-moment information regarding behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, and changes over an extended time. 

Market researchers can provide rich insights that facilitate better decision-making with real-time qualitative feedback. A mobile diary is easy for respondents to share more authentic and reliable information through images, videos, audio clips, and texts. 

With a GDP of $5.15 trillion, Japan is well-positioned for international expansion and offers substantial business opportunities for brands in various industries. 

The country has dramatically bounced back from the disruption caused by the 2011 natural disasters, like the earthquake and the Tsunami.

Japanese motor vehicles and electronics are prevalent globally. It is also among the world’s largest producers of steel. 

The country is among the world’s largest exporters of motor vehicles and electronic equipment. The service sector makes up the highest percentage of the economy in terms of gross domestic product and employment.

Major Industries in Japan

Japan’s five largest companies by market capitalization are Toyota, Sony, Keyence, Recruit Holdings, and SoftBank Group. Sony’s portfolio includes a distinctly non-Japanese Hollywood movie and music business originally acquired through a merger and acquisition over 30 years ago. SoftBank, in recent years, has morphed into a massive tech fund run by foreign fund managers invested almost entirely in non-Japanese startups. Recruit’s new CEO spent ten years acquiring and growing recruitment businesses in the U.S. before his promotion earlier in 2022.

Japan is focused on manufacturing precision and technology products such as hybrid vehicles, robotics, and optical instruments.

Other industries prominent in Japan are agriculture, fishing, and tourism. 

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What makes Japan an excellent choice for international expansion

Large World economy

The third-largest economy in the world, after the United States and China, and the fourth largest importer of U.S. products, Japan is open for international business. It is also one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations.

Robust Consumer Economy

Japan has a robust consumer economy with a per capita income of $42,197 and is a haven for brands that want to expand internationally. Japan’s massive consumer economy, in which consumers with considerable purchasing power seek high-quality and innovative goods and services. 

Protections and Compliance

An essential member of the international trade system, Japan complies with the law, and its efforts to maintain the rule of law is one of the pillars of its foreign policy. It also provides intellectual property protection and rights. 

Easy and inexpensive to set up an office 

According to the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” report, it takes about 11 days to incorporate. It costs 0.7 percent or JPY 60,000, (approximately USD 470 million), whichever is higher, and registration and seal fees. For companies that want to set up a branch office, the costs are low and procedures simple. Co-working spaces are also an option in bigger cities. 

Rapidly Aging Population

Japan is aging fast. One in three people is estimated to be 65 years and older by 2036, conferring the title of the world’s leading “super-aged society.”



While the nation’s rapidly aging and declining population pose risks of an economic crisis, it also presents massive opportunities. As a result of the declining population, individual income has risen, surpassing U.S. citizens.

Fewer people in Japan mean larger living spaces, more arable land capital, more disposable income, and higher quality of living. This fuels the growth in several industries, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, franchising, and real estate, to name a few.

Seniors in Japan are financially secure and healthy overall and big consumers of various products and services. 

Innovation and Research 

Japan reigns supreme in research as a nation with a large senior population. It has a goldmine of data on aging, medical data, and medical assessments—these datasets are beneficial for local governments worldwide. The nation ushers innovation and technological advancement in many sectors. 

Just as countries can look up to Japan to help their aging population and fill technological gaps, foreign brands can view this as a great time to expand and invest in such fields.

Significant obstacles to consider before entering the Japanese market

Entering the Japanese market is lucrative and full of opportunities, but it is not without many obstacles and challenges. It is noteworthy here that Japan is one of the few Asian countries that never had a western country rule over them, and this is because of Japanese are strong-willed and are rooted in tradition. 

Although tariffs are generally low, Japan has other barriers to entering the market that may hinder foreign products’ importation into the country. 

It is essential to factor in some of the most significant obstacles before entering the Japanese market. These hurdles can be measured against the brand and company goals to make the right decision and market entry plan. 

  1. Japan’s size makes it essential for brands to invest substantially, increasing risks.
  2. Japan is a highly competitive market, and domestic brands have a strong presence. Therefore, it is not easy to compete with local Japanese companies. However, thorough market research before creating the market entry plan can help brands overcome the challenge of competing with local companies.
  3. Japanese are discerning and look for value for money and high quality when making purchase decisions. Additionally, the Japanese culture and tastes are very different from the Western world. Therefore, brands have to redesign and redevelop their products and services to tailor them to local tastes and preferences in most cases. Market research and product testing methodologies can help brands create and tweak products to fit the Japanese lifestyle and culture.
  4. Japan has very little foreign investment for an advanced nation, keeping the Japanese business sector isolated. As a result, only about 3-5 percent of Japanese speak good English, which can be a barrier for some countries.
  5. Japan has a strong network of regulations, permissions, and extensive procedures as a bureaucratic country. These strict regulations keep new entrants from competing with established industries. However, these regulations are being slowly relaxed.
  6. Management and H.R. policies are very different in Japan, and organizations entering the country must consider and adapt to the management style in Japan, because failing to do so, is a recipe for disaster. 

Marketing to the Japanese consumer

Japan is a unique market, and it is crucial to understand the cultural nuances and the Japanese consumer. You cannot become a Japanese marketing expert overnight, and it is helpful to hire local advertising agencies when marketing in Japan. 

For the same reason as above, it is critical to regionalize everything. Labels on products and marketing and sales materials, digital campaigns, and the website need to be in the Japanese language.

The Pepsiman commercial is an excellent example of regionalizing a brand. When Pepsi’s Japan branch decided to create something regional for Japan, they contacted Travis Charest to create a superhero mascot to promote Pepsi. This faceless superhero managed to get a cult following in the country. They developed an action game for the Playstation and created several successful commercials using Pepsiman. 

Nike’s attempt to extend its marketing message to include social activism in Japan was met with criticism. Nike Japan released a video depicting the struggles of women athletes in Japan that faced bullying and racism, topics that are not openly discussed in the country.

Martin Roll, a business and brand adviser, says that Japanese consumers are not as vocal and will not express dissent unless they feel brands cross a red line. Therefore, it is important to have a deep understanding of the culture, the sentiment of the people, the root of homogeneity in Japan (post-Hiroshima Nagasaki, there was a focus on a homogeneous society), and how to carefully tread the delicate line. 

As in any other new country, it is also essential to have a local marketing plan and calendar.

Distribution and Sales Channels in Japan

The choice of distribution channels depends upon the product. Due to space limitations, small retail stores often stock limited inventory, and wholesalers deliver smaller amounts more frequently. 

Culturally, the Japanese prefer face-to-face interactions and place a high value on building and maintaining business relationships. This distribution system is costly and increases the price of goods. The growth of big box stores and e-commerce is challenging this status quo. 

In 2021, approximately 2.25 million vending machines in Japan were beverage vending machines, selling drinks like cooled beverages or coffee. 

The primary distribution and logistics points are found in the major port cities, like Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka, and Fukuoka.    

Market entry strategy for Japan

Brands need to develop and maintain strong relationships with local partners to gain a foothold and succeed in the Japanese market. The local partner can act as an agent, representative, or distributor and manage a branch office or subsidiary in Japan. 

Since the business culture is unique in Japan, visiting the country several times before entering the market is good. This can help familiarize the organization with the culture and business climate. 

Japan has a stable economy and is a dream destination for foreign investment. The key to successful business entry in Japan is doing the leg work using market research to understand the culture, localize the product and messaging, and find the right partner to expand the given brand in this unique marketplace full of opportunities.

As organizations chart their growth and enter new markets, market research can assist them with these goals through data-driven insights. Market research plays a pivotal role in identifying market trends, uncovering competitive advantages, and discovering consumer intent and behaviors. This helps brands make better decisions based on data. 

Therefore, market researchers are increasingly turning to technology to improve data collection methods, research processes, and consumer insights presentations. Technology allows researchers to reduce costs, boost productivity and increase efficiencies in all primary functions. 

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Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) are at the forefront of technological breakthroughs transforming the market research industry. These and other technologies allow more efficient and meaningful data collection and analysis. 

Let’s take a closer look at the most important technological trends in market research.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is the ability of a computer or a computer-controlled robot to perform tasks usually done by humans and associated with intelligent beings. In market research, A.I. provides large amounts of unstructured data at scale. 

A.I. is often used in conjunction with traditional methods with excellent outcomes in influencing marketing strategies, delivering service solutions, and uncovering consumer behavior. It assists people in market research by automating tasks and increasing efficiencies, obtaining deep insights from a large amount of data, and enabling them to use natural language processing (N.L.P.) for better understanding. 

Most people understand that traditional market research is about online surveys. A.I. allows surveys to be conducted via voice. For instance, brands are using voice survey tools to collect data that sounds more human. This is an incredible new development that allows users to provide feedback hands-free. For researchers, this is a qualitative approach that speaks volumes regarding the emotions behind the words. It captures the true sentiment of the participants. 

  1. Eye-tracking

Eye-tracking is a research methodology for measuring where a person looks, providing insight into their thinking.

It is now possible to record everything about how the eye interacts with everything in front of it. Using infrared light and high-resolution cameras, market researchers can track how eyes move in response to stimuli. They can, therefore, unlock real-time emotions and consumer reactions, obtaining insightful and quantifiable data behind consumer reactions and behavior. 

  1. Real-time feedback

Real-time feedback is a type of qualitative market research methodology in which you receive live feedback from users or visitors on your website or app. 

Mobile diaries allow brands to obtain “in-the-moment” real-time responses. They don’t have to recall their experiences from a few days or weeks ago; they can provide real-time feedback, for instance, while interacting with your app or product. 

Most people always have their phones with them, not necessarily a traditional journal or diary.

  1. Microdata

We hear and read about “big data,” but microdata is becoming increasingly crucial. Microdata is data about individual consumer activity. 

Microdata is data on the characteristics of units of a population, like individuals, establishments, or households, collected by a census or survey. 

A good understanding of individual consumer behavior supports more targeted business decisions. So while big data is essential, certain decisions cannot be made using macro data methodologies.  

  1. Augmented Reality (A.R.)

According to Investopedia, “Augmented Reality (A.R.) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology.”

We partnered with Asahi on a pilot designed to explore the applications of augmented reality in package testing. The pilot was focused on one of Asahi’s flagship brands: Fuller’s London Pride. London Pride is already the capital’s number one ale. Still, as part of a strategic drive to bring the brand to more ale lovers nationally, Asahi wanted to test a new concept for the packaging against the existing bottle design.

Read the complete case study on how we ran an industry-leading pilot test on A.R. in market research to discover its applications to pack testing. 

Virtual environments have provided brands and market researchers with a more accessible and less expensive way of product concept testing, feasibility analysis, and interpreting consumer behavior regarding a new and developing product.

Brands use A.R. to help consumers view a product, like a piece of furniture in their surroundings. It provides the brand with feedback on how a product can work for customers. It is also far less expensive than a focus group or shipping the product to the consumer. 

  1. Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearables

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of connected objects or devices that can collect and exchange data in real-time using embedded sensors. Cars, thermostats, lights, and window blinds, can all be connected to collect and exchange information over a network using sensors. 

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are a goldmine of data with many facets of consumers’ everyday lives. Let’s say a company wanted to measure the activity levels of consumers in the new year. They will get rich data from a wearable device like a Fitbit or Apple watch (with the user’s permission).

  1. Social targeting

Social media targeting is the ability to post or advertise certain content to specific audiences. These can be chosen by the person posting or the advertiser to include niche audiences based on demographics, interests, etc. 

There are over 4.55 billion social media users worldwide, and that’s where most people congregate nowadays. Advertisers have leveraged the precise targeting of niche audiences to drive leads and sales. 

Brands can target a specific section of the population based on age, gender, interests, behaviors, languages, and even the brands and products they currently use. 

Market researchers can use social sampling to effectively target participants according to what they are looking for based on personal interests, location, and interests. 

Surveying consumers virtually allows them to target specific niches of participants. Researchers can select participants who care about the product or service with precise targeting, resulting in higher response rates.

There are plenty of opportunities to adopt new technologies in market research so brands can get better insights faster. This enables brands to make better decisions based on rich data. 

Technology makes it possible for market researchers to collect data quicker and more accurately and analyze it more effectively. However, they also need to sharpen their skills when using technology. In some cases, it is essential to complement traditional methods with technology. In either case, technology adoption will allow market researchers to spend less time on data collection and analysis and more time on the big picture problem-solving. This will bring more value to the brands and markets they serve. 

Technology to enhance, not replace, the human component 

While technology provides real-time, rich, and robust data and an efficient way to sift through vast amounts of data, it does not replace experience in interpretation. Technology should complement, accelerate, and enhance the market research methodologies, not replace them. 

For instance, automation should be used to reduce the time between putting the survey in the field and retrieving the feedback and responses. But the automation should not replace the interpretation made by an experienced market researcher. 

Market researchers know how to design surveys, ask the right questions, and interpret data. With the advances in technology, they can move from data collection to more big-picture thinking. In a world of automation and data, human beings remain unique in their ability to create and understand people.

Just like we need a GPS to take us from point A to Point B, businesses need to intuitively map their customer’s journey to ensure they are moving through the process. But instead of plotting it physically on a map, brands need to use technology to visualize each touchpoint the customers interact with when they engage with them. 

Today, customers interact with brands multiple times on various platforms, and brands need to funnel them to continue moving forward. 

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What is customer journey mapping?

A customer journey map is a visual plotting or representation of customers’ experiences and touchpoints with a brand. It tells the complete story of a brand’s relationship with a customer, starting with the first engagement and moving toward a path to purchase and becoming a loyal customer. 

Journey mapping is not a single instance or solution; it is a process that integrates every facet of an organization, from marketing to sales to customer service.

Why Customer Journey Mapping is Invaluable for Brands

Today, customers expect a lot from each interaction with a given brand. Personalization, consistency at each touchpoint, and relevance are not just “good to have” anymore; they are necessary to drive conversions and brand loyalty. 

Customer Journey Mapping is beneficial not only for sales and marketing but also for the creative team. Armed with this information, content creators can develop timely, relevant, personalized copy and speaks to the customer at each touchpoint. Designers can derive context from this information and design an elevated customer experience. 

Customer Journey Mapping is helpful for many reasons, and it primarily helps with the following three steps:

1. Identify all touchpoints to understand the customer experience better.

Customer Journey Mapping helps you construct a seamless and intuitive customer experience through every touchpoint. This is often missed by quantitative research.

For instance, a journey map may uncover a tremendous amount of online research in the discovery phase of a particular product or service. This would lead a brand to question how it appears on search engines and the content customers find when researching the product online. 

2. Get in tune with your customers at every step of the way.

Customer Journey Maps are visual aids that help understand the customers better at each touchpoint. It visually reveals patterns in customer behavior and emotions, and once these are identified, brands have an account of the steps that are working and those with gaps.

3. Identify gaps in your CX and lead your customers intuitively through the funnel.

Customer Journey Mapping aims to understand each touchpoint and ensure measurement tools are in place to help monitor each customer interaction. 

For instance, for a travel website, a customer’s journey starts when they search for airline tickets and cover all the steps through research, queries, finding tickets, booking them, making a payment, and receiving confirmations and other travel-related information. It includes signing up for a newsletter, recommendations to book hotels, prompting the user to check-in, and offering additional information. In a retail setting, Customer Journey Mapping would include the signage, lighting, store layout, temperature, smell, comfort, and other physical elements in addition to interactions with the employees. 

Customer Journey Mapping helps you fill gaps and focus on areas that need improvement for an intuitive and seamless customer experience. 

How to Get the Most out of Your Customer Journey Map

The ultimate goal of a Customer Journey Map is to improve the customer journey and move prospects through the funnel. This is because inefficient systems and interactions cause frustration amongst users and prospects, impeding conversions and sales. 

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when researching your customer journey.

  • Some brands do a great job acquiring customers but are not good at activating. Therefore, brands should include every touchpoint, like packaging, labels, messaging and ads, and social voice.
  • A Customer Journey Map should be a combination of analytics and customer feedback. Therefore, brands must gather quantitative data from multiple sources, including call center and CRM software, QR codes scanned, website and social media analytics, and other metrics.
  • It is essential to include post-purchase components into the Customer Journey Map. The relationship with the customer continues long after they purchase something. This helps you get repeat business, loyal customers, favorable reviews, and raving fans who will refer the product or service to others. 

How Market Research can help brands build Customer Journey Maps

So how do you use market research to help improve the customer experience? 

Let’s examine this with the example of a retail shoe store. You identified the salesperson as a critical touchpoint. You can use a focus group to experience the store just as they would if shopping for shoes. 

Ask them to identify the experiential element of each touchpoint, including what they see, smell, hear, and feel. The focus group will then prioritize what parts of the journey need improvement. They will provide insights on how easy it was to find what they were looking for, the annoying details, how the store stacks up to a competitor, and the customer satisfaction score. The brand can then build an action plan to improve the customer experience at their store. 

This is how the brand identifies gaps, determines development priorities, builds a plan to remedy the issues and bottlenecks, and allocates funds to optimize sales and Return on Investment (ROI). 

Customer Journey Mapping should be a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. 

Market research and building Customer Journey Maps allow brands to compare what they believe the customer journey looks like and what it is like in reality. When you combine the metrics and data with sensory components, you can experience the journey through your customer’s eyes. This “outside looking in” approach will significantly improve the customer experience and revenues.

As organizations chart their growth and enter new markets, market research can assist them with these goals through data-driven insights. Market research plays a pivotal role in identifying market trends, uncovering competitive advantages, and discovering consumer intent and behaviors. This helps brands make better decisions based on data. 

Therefore, market researchers are increasingly turning to technology to improve data collection methods, research processes, and consumer insights presentations. Technology allows researchers to reduce costs, boost productivity and increase efficiencies in all primary functions. 

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are at the forefront of technological breakthroughs transforming the market research industry. These and other technologies allow more efficient and meaningful data collection and analysis. 

Stay ahead

Get regular insights

Keep up to date with the latest insights from our research as well as all our company news in our free monthly newsletter.

Let’s take a closer look at the most important technological trends in market research.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is the ability of a computer or a computer-controlled robot to perform tasks usually done by humans and associated with intelligent beings. In market research, A.I. provides large amounts of unstructured data at scale. 

A.I. is often used in conjunction with traditional methods with excellent outcomes in influencing marketing strategies, delivering service solutions, and uncovering consumer behavior. It assists people in market research by automating tasks and increasing efficiencies, obtaining deep insights from a large amount of data, and enabling them to use natural language processing (N.L.P.) for better understanding. 

Most people understand that traditional market research is about online surveys. A.I. allows surveys to be conducted via voice. For instance, brands are using voice survey tools to collect data that sounds more human. This is an incredible new development that allows users to provide feedback hands-free. For researchers, this is a qualitative approach that speaks volumes regarding the emotions behind the words. It captures the true sentiment of the participants. 

  1. Eye-tracking

Eye-tracking is a research methodology for measuring where a person looks, providing insight into their thinking.

It is now possible to record everything about how the eye interacts with everything in front of it. Using infrared light and high-resolution cameras, market researchers can track how eyes move in response to stimuli. They can, therefore, unlock real-time emotions and consumer reactions, obtaining insightful and quantifiable data behind consumer reactions and behavior. 

  1. Real-time feedback

Real-time feedback is a type of qualitative market research methodology in which you receive live feedback from users or visitors on your website or app. 

Mobile diaries allow brands to obtain “in-the-moment” real-time responses. They don’t have to recall their experiences from a few days or weeks ago; they can provide real-time feedback, for instance, while interacting with your app or product. 

Most people always have their phones with them, not necessarily a traditional journal or diary.

  1. Microdata

We hear and read about “big data,” but microdata is becoming increasingly crucial. Microdata is data about individual consumer activity. 

Microdata is data on the characteristics of units of a population, like individuals, establishments, or households, collected by a census or survey. 

A good understanding of individual consumer behavior supports more targeted business decisions. So while big data is essential, certain decisions cannot be made using macro data methodologies.  

  1. Augmented Reality (A.R.)

According to Investopedia, “Augmented Reality (A.R.) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology.”

We partnered with Asahi on a pilot designed to explore the applications of augmented reality in package testing. The pilot was focused on one of Asahi’s flagship brands: Fuller’s London Pride. London Pride is already the capital’s number one ale. Still, as part of a strategic drive to bring the brand to more ale lovers nationally, Asahi wanted to test a new concept for the packaging against the existing bottle design.

Read the complete case study on how we ran an industry-leading pilot test on A.R. in market research to discover its applications to pack testing. 

Virtual environments have provided brands and market researchers with a more accessible and less expensive way of product concept testing, feasibility analysis, and interpreting consumer behavior regarding a new and developing product.

Brands use A.R. to help consumers view a product, like a piece of furniture in their surroundings. It provides the brand with feedback on how a product can work for customers. It is also far less expensive than a focus group or shipping the product to the consumer. 

  1. Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearables

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of connected objects or devices that can collect and exchange data in real-time using embedded sensors. Cars, thermostats, lights, and window blinds, can all be connected to collect and exchange information over a network using sensors. 

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are a goldmine of data with many facets of consumers’ everyday lives. Let’s say a company wanted to measure the activity levels of consumers in the new year. They will get rich data from a wearable device like a Fitbit or Apple watch (with the user’s permission).

  1. Social targeting

Social media targeting is the ability to post or advertise certain content to specific audiences. These can be chosen by the person posting or the advertiser to include niche audiences based on demographics, interests, etc. 

There are over 4.55 billion social media users worldwide, and that’s where most people congregate nowadays. Advertisers have leveraged the precise targeting of niche audiences to drive leads and sales. 

Brands can target a specific section of the population based on age, gender, interests, behaviors, languages, and even the brands and products they currently use. 

Market researchers can use social sampling to effectively target participants according to what they are looking for based on personal interests, location, and interests. 

Surveying consumers virtually allows them to target specific niches of participants. Researchers can select participants who care about the product or service with precise targeting, resulting in higher response rates.

There are plenty of opportunities to adopt new technologies in market research so brands can get better insights faster. This enables brands to make better decisions based on rich data. 

Technology makes it possible for market researchers to collect data quicker and more accurately and analyze it more effectively. However, they also need to sharpen their skills when using technology. In some cases, it is essential to complement traditional methods with technology. In either case, technology adoption will allow market researchers to spend less time on data collection and analysis and more time on the big picture problem-solving. This will bring more value to the brands and markets they serve. 

Technology to enhance, not replace, the human component 

While technology provides real-time, rich, and robust data and an efficient way to sift through vast amounts of data, it does not replace experience in interpretation. Technology should complement, accelerate, and enhance the market research methodologies, not replace them. 

For instance, automation should be used to reduce the time between putting the survey in the field and retrieving the feedback and responses. But the automation should not replace the interpretation made by an experienced market researcher. 

Market researchers know how to design surveys, ask the right questions, and interpret data. With the advances in technology, they can move from data collection to more big-picture thinking. In a world of automation and data, human beings remain unique in their ability to create and understand people.

Consumer interest in Connected Technology is rising due to the accelerated digital shift to “at-home” trends during the pandemic. With an increasing number of people working, learning, shopping, exercising, and even monitoring their health from the comfort of their homes, the connected technology market is rife with opportunities for brands in a multitude of sectors. 

From AI-enabled voice assistants that can be summoned on command to watches that have gone beyond telling time and have converted our wrists into smartphone holders and health monitoring devices, connected technologies are transforming the way we live, work, and play. 

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Market research and product testing are paramount for the successful launch of connected technology products.

With an increasing number of consumers and households jumping on the connected technology bandwagon, we are collecting more information and data than ever before, which has positive and negative implications for the market research industry.

Market research companies provide product testing services in various industries as they conduct research studies for a range of products before they are launched and help guide new product development. These companies put the products in the hands of the consumers who will be using the technology. 

Product testing is a research methodology that allows brands to gather quantitative and qualitative information about a user’s potential behavior, reactions, and preferences, like the taste, feel, and smell. For connected technology, often, a prototype is tested in the market before it goes into development. 

What is connected technology?

Connected technology is products with built-in or embedded technology comprising of sensors and processors to connect with their environment and other products. 

Connected technology is tied with the Internet of Things (IoT). Watches are no longer used only to tell time; their function has extended to enable text messaging, phone calls, and fitness monitoring. Our homes are getting smarter; our cars go the extra mile to deliver convenience; our offices thrive remotely using real-life collaboration and project management tools. 

Let’s look at some of the main areas where connected technology is unfurling, what the future has in store for consumers, and how brands can match this rapid growth. 

How are people currently using connected technology?

Connected technology has seamlessly integrated into our daily lives and shows no signs of slowing down, and for good reason. The demand for connected technology that provides convenience, comfort, accessibility, and automation is at a historic high. 

To understand the benefits and use of connected tech, let’s look at the main areas we use connected technology in our daily lives. 

There’s no place like a smart home.

Smart homes are redefining our living spaces and becoming more innovative. According to Statista, the global smart home market is worth more than US$126 billion.

Consumers increasingly demand home automation when they purchase a home —and for a good reason. Home automation provides convenience, functionality, security, entertainment, and energy savings. The possibilities are endless. 

For instance, lighting control network systems allow you to control the whole home or building remotely by your smartphone. Sensors turn lights on and off as we enter and exit rooms. Automated window treatments allow you to control a room’s ambient lighting and other aspects remotely. Smart homes also allow for remote access. 

Connected homes

Smart appliances are making life easier for households. Smart Appliances as a segment includes all kinds of connected household appliances. Surveillance cameras and home security systems are getting more advanced. Baby and pet monitors allow people to monitor their babies and pets. 

Consumers in Asia adopt devices more quickly than in North America and Europe, and South Korea leads the way with a 27 percent household penetration rate in 2022. 

Smart homes are not just nice to have anymore. Homeowners are increasingly expecting smart home features, and builders and technology companies are taking note.

Smart homes are getting smarter and now go beyond just thermostats and light dimmers. Technology is becoming much more affordable and accessible, and some smart homes will make your jaw drop.

Consumers are much savvier and increasingly demand technology built into their homes. Even the lower to mid-range new home buyers expect certain smart home features to be part of the build. Therefore, every construction company needs to include these home features or risk falling behind their competitors.

How does the demand for Smart Homes impact brands in the market?

This new trend has many implications for the market. Builders will need to consider privacy and cybersecurity, adjust agreements, make sure devices can “talk” to each other, and have the ability to offer flexibility as new technologies are added in the future. 

With the average household using 25 connected devices, there is considerable pressure to provide a connectivity network far beyond what a regular service provider can deliver. 

The pandemic has also created a new generation of germophobes, and KB Homes, a home builder in the U.S., has launched MERV-13-rated air filters in their communities. Compared to lower-rated air filters, these high-grade residential air filters eliminate dust, pollen, mold, and certain bacteria and viruses for improved air quality. 

Home appliance brands are not only thinking of innovations but also a way to upgrade features into existing smart products. The CES 2022 show in Las Vegas saw AI-powered laundry machines, hands-free faucets, healthier microwaves, next-level smart blinds, and smart bathing technology. 

Connected technology is driving the automobile industry.

Connected technology is designed to connect to a smartphone to do more than play music or route phone calls through the car’s speaker. For instance, you can turn a connected vehicle on or off using a smartphone. It can allow the owner to use an app to control the car or share diagnostic data to remind you when an oil change is due, and so on. 

Connected cars

Connected vehicles on the road connect to a network so all types and sizes of cars can “talk” to each other as they share vital information on safety, road conditions, traffic, and mobility. 

These are just a few instances that barely scratch the surface of what connected vehicles can do.

A Statista report estimates the size of the global connected car fleet to increase more than threefold in the coming years. In 2021, there were about 84 million connected cars in the United States, and it is projected to exceed 305 million in 2035, making the United States the biggest market for connected vehicles.

Europe currently accounts for around 30 percent of the global connected car fleet. The E.U. is one of the regions with significant potential for connected services. 

As of 2019, about half of the motorists in Europe said they were willing to switch car brands to access new connectivity features and services.

For more insights, download our report, “Speed bumps on the Road to Change.”

Wearing your heart on your sleeve. 

According to 1Mordor’s 2020 report: “The connected medical device market is expected to register a CAGR of 18.92% over the forecast period from 2022 to 2027.” The same report showed the Asia Pacific as the fastest growing market and North America as the largest market.

Connected tech in healthcare is also referred to as Connected Care. It may be defined as the real-time, electronic communication between a patient and a medical provider, using digital tools such as remote patient monitors, telehealth, wearable technology, secure messaging, and mobile apps, to name a few. 

Wearable Technology - Healthcare

It is estimated that remote monitoring for healthcare could be worth USD 1.1 trillion by 2025.

Wearable technologies hold a significant share of this market, providing real-time data so health care providers can help patients remotely. They provide convenience and cost-effectiveness by reducing multiple visits to the doctor’s office. With cardiac-related devices expected to be worth USD 800 billion by 2030, there is a massive opportunity for healthcare brands in the cardiac segment for wearables.

These medical devices can be vulnerable to security breaches, impacting their safety and effectiveness because they are computer systems. 

While there are data security risks involved, wearables can detect cardiac arrhythmia conditions causing stroke and allow neurologists to diagnose seizures remotely; the benefits of these products far outweigh any risks. 

For more insights, download our report, “Health and Wellness Trends.”

Connected tech encompasses your fur babies. 

The pet humanization trend and growing concern amongst pet owners about the health and safety of their pets continues to drive the pet industry’s growth at a CAGR of 6.1 percent. You can now dress your pet in a Banana Republic sweater, insure them with MetLife, and get CBD supplements to calm them down.

This trend is now dovetailing into the pet wearable devices market. According to a recent global market research study, the global market for pet wearables is expected to reach USD 2,5 billion by 2024. Pets can wear these devices to help identify, track, control, and even for medical diagnosis and treatment. Furbo is one such pet wearable in the market that aids anxiety in dogs. A remote pet camera that alerts you when your dog is barking can take dog selfies, and owners can toss treats, all from their smartphones.

Connected technology is reshaping the fitness industry.

One of the first industries impacted adversely by the pandemic was gyms and fitness centers when they were forced to close their doors due to fears of spreading COVID-19. Stuck at home and with more time on hand than ever before, consumers made a beeline for at-home gym equipment. Peloton was at the forefront of this revolution and later bought Lululemon’s Mirror. 

Peloton and the at-home fitness market

Peloton’s stock has reached highs and has plummeted in what seems like a roller coaster ride. When gyms closed during the pandemic, Peloton’s stock price and product sales were at an all-time high, increasing more than eightfold from March to December 2020. 

An Atlantic article revealed the company had 2.3 million users paying about $40 a month to take classes on its “connected fitness” products by August 2021. 

Google trends show a similar picture.

At-home fitness trends during the Pandemic
At-home Fitness Trends during the Pandemic

The global home-fitness equipment market will grow to $15.13 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6%. The at-home fitness market is expected to reach $21.84 billion by 2026.

What does this mean for fitness brands —both in-person gyms and online fitness platforms?

Brands providing fitness solutions inside and outside the home will need to commit to the new normal and an approach that fits consumers’ lifestyles.

Brands that want to become a part of their consumer’s fitness regimen will have to consider a hybrid approach. On-site fitness studios and solutions should utilize a more hybrid approach to keep consumers physically and digitally engaged and connected. They can do this by complimenting their in-person services with a mobile application. At the same time, brands with at-home gym equipment and tools should make data security a priority. 

The intersection of retail and technology elevates the shopping experience —both in-store and online.

Not all businesses survived the pandemic and the recent, rapid shifts in consumer habits, but the ones that did are thriving. These retailers have been able to master the in-store shopping experience. 

Retail technology provides an exciting opportunity to both consumers and retail brands. Connected technology is taking the shopping experience up several notches. While people still shop in these stores, a brand’s physical location is considered one of the many channels. Consumers interact with these stores digitally and will come to expect this from every brand.

Retail Technology

From using virtual mirrors to try on clothes to pointing a piece of furniture on your cell phone and placing it in your home, Augmented Reality (A.R.) is changing how we shop and try products. Car shoppers can go into dealerships and customize cars with different colors or styles using their tablets or phones. They can use A.R. to try sunglasses from the comfort of their home.

Grocery stores may look the same as many years ago, but the experience has completely transformed. The distinction between online and offline has little relevance today in the grocery space. This is because today’s consumers do not want their shopping experience to be held back by the limitations of a single touchpoint. Today’s connected consumers expect an omnichannel shopping experience, including online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery, self-checkout, scan-and-go, and contactless payment options.

Supermarket brands need to have an omnichannel approach to meet customer expectations, including convenience, speed, and efficiency. For instance, while a customer is exploring store aisles physically, they should have the option to interact with the store digitally and even complete the transaction using the store’s mobile app. 

Consumers’ data is recorded and stored to provide a personalized experience with product recommendations and deals. When consumers create an online account, their purchasing habits are used to tailor relevant deals, ads, and offers. In the absence of an online account, consumer data is tied to a loyalty card.

Technology also allows retailers to alert customers when stocks of the items they regularly purchase are low or when an item is back in stock. Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, will notify you based on your ordering history if you are running low on a particular product, tell you how much it is, and ask you if you would like it added to your cart.

Grocery delivery services became popular during the pandemic. Now that we can go back to a physical store, many consumers have become accustomed to using delivery apps like Instacart for their convenience, speed, and seamless service. You can also watch your groceries transported to your doorstep with the app’s live map view. 

Sustainability is also coming into the picture with an increasing number of younger generations that prefer buying from eco-friendly companies. Zero, a Los Angeles-based startup, is an example of an eco-friendly brand that delivers groceries in sustainable packaging. 

The future of retail is hybrid with an Omni-channel approach and connected experiences across touch-points. 

As customers jump across several channels when they shop, retailers need to engage with where their customers are via digital channels.

Leveraging shopping behaviors, personalization, user experience (UX), and integration will be critical for retail success. This will help retailers engage with their customers at various touchpoints —physical stores, sites, apps, and significantly improve the shopping experience. 

Retailers also need to factor in social media networks, messaging apps, voice assistants, mobile devices, and other new channels to capture their customers’ attention and engage with them. Consumers expect incredibly personalized and relevant content. 

Challenges in the connected technology space and how brands can use these as opportunities to grow  

During the pandemic, the older, less tech-savvy generations also adapted to connected technology and enjoyed the benefits of staying connected with friends and family. Brands should no longer ignore this segment’s needs and may need to provide more in-depth onboarding help and tech support. 

Now that people are back to in-person, they will continue using these devices and technologies in and out of the home, in the new normal. There will be a need for interconnectivity across the house, car, and mobile devices will be critical moving forward.

The industry faces many challenges, including data security, privacy concerns, continuous innovation and iteration, a massive load on the network and wifi issues, theft, loss, and damage.

Here are ways in which brands can overcome such challenges:

  1. Provide extended warranty
  2. Put customers first
  3. Provide multiple customer-service options
  4. Insurance against theft, loss, and damage
  5. Provide on-demand tech support
  6. Help with digital identity protection
  7. Allow trade-in offers to swap your old device for a new one at a discount
  8. Continuously upgrade technology

What does the future hold for connected technology?

In a digital-first world, physical fitness studios and stores are still appealing. Physical stores that embraced this reality are thriving. They have gone above and beyond to offer a hybrid approach and have elevated the in-store experience. There is also a preference for in-store shopping in older generations versus younger ones.

The pandemic played a massive role in speeding up the adoption of digital-first behaviors. Now that we know consumers expect a hybrid world where digital meets offline, brands can play a role in pushing innovation and further improving customer experiences across touchpoints and channels. With a goldmine of integrated customer data, they can offer a personalized and relevant experience in a hyper-connected consumer world. 

How market research can aid brands in the connected technology space

For brands aiming to disrupt the market with the next “new” thing in connected technology, it is vital to know how consumers will respond to it before going to market. Market research can provide the valuable data, and insights brands need to take action. 

Brands have several critical decisions regarding target markets and audiences, price, distribution channels, promotion, and product features. How can brands bring new product lines to market without proper knowledge? The good news is market research provides unique methodologies tailor-made to capture purposeful information to inform those decisions. 

Market research allows brands to collect relevant information about market needs and customer preferences, impacting every aspect of the business, product, and brand. Backed by this information, brands understand the choices and behaviors of their potential customers. Therefore, their products can meet their customers’ needs and reduce the risk of an experience gap between the company and its products or services. The experience gap is essentially the gap between what the customers expect/ want and what the companies give them. 

Market research is used for product testing and development. Effective market research uses a diverse population to test a given product and ensures it works for everyone in the target market. Brands also use market research for brand name testing, concept testing, messaging and campaign testing, branding, and logo testing, and pricing testing, to name a few. 

For brands in the connected technology space that are often under high pressure to quickly produce and iterate high-quality products with an enhanced customer experience in a competitive market, the importance of market research cannot be overstated. 

Brands in connected technology need to utilize a comprehensive testing strategy beyond traditional product and messaging testing. Market research can study the preferences and User Experience (UX) throughout all touchpoints within the customer journey. 

For instance, connected technology brands can use market research to ensure customers are surveyed on current technologies and UX and online shopping cart abandonment. Likewise, the data from connected tech can (with permission) provide a goldmine of information about specific market segments, which can inform better decisions based on hard facts rather than gut feelings or assumptions. 

For smart product companies, it is also essential to make sure all their products connect seamlessly to make their customers’ lives easier and more comfortable. Therefore, market research is utilized to make sure the product works and connects with other smart products to enhance the customer’s life. 

Connected technology became popular before the pandemic. The pandemic only accelerated its adoption. The rise of connected consumers across the globe has led to connected technology trends across industries. As brands navigate the challenges of wifi capabilities and data privacy, they are continually innovating and iterating smart, connected products that are relevant and user-friendly. 

We don’t need a crystal ball to make this prediction: the future belongs to a connected world. 

Learn more about how Kadence International’s Marketing Research is driving growth for leading technology companies here

The significant strides in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are reinventing the market research industry by addressing cost and time issues. As for the process and application, AI makes market research less laborious, faster, and more accurate. Machine Learning reduces the time to complete projects from weeks and months to hours and days. Algorithms make the job less cumbersome and more cost-effective. 

What is Text Analytics, and what are its uses?

One of the newest trends and developments in market research is Text Analytics. Text analytics is a qualitative research method used to uncover the whole story behind the data so organizations can make better, more informed decisions. It refers to the automated process of extracting and translating information, insights, patterns, and trends from large volumes of unstructured text and data. This is done through text analytics software that uses Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to pull valuable information and meaning from unstructured text. 

This text and data consist of open-ended feedback in text form, like emails, survey responses, product reviews, call center notes, and social media posts. 

Can you imagine how tedious and time-consuming it would be to pull information and deep insights from such voluminous, unstructured text at scale? 

Text analytics helps market researchers examine large amounts of information and data in real-time to track consumers’ sentiments and detect potential brand reputation issues before they become serious. 

Text analytics also helps diagnose product issues and provide more profound insights like identifying patterns or trends. It aids in comprehending a negative spike in the customer experience, assists in collating and interpreting customer conversations from various online sources, and helps monitor an advertising campaign’s messaging and how it is being received.

Brands increasingly use text analytics to offer actionable insights that inform sound decision-making. It also enables organizations to examine vast amounts of data at scale, increase efficiencies and reduce time, labor, and costs. 

According to Mordor, “The global text analytics market was valued at USD 5.46 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 14.84 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 17.35 percent.” 

Companies use text analysis to help improve their customer, employee, product, user, and brand experience. Many cloud-based applications use text analysis for predictive studies, cybercrime, business intelligence (BI), and fraud management, to name a few. 

The Difference Between Text Mining and Text Analysis

It is essential not to confuse text mining with text analysis as they are similar in process and methodologies but have very different applications. 

Text mining uses statistical methodologies to extract quantifiable information from unstructured text, used for applications like fraud detection and screening of job applicants. 

Text analysis has a more business and experience management focus that uses similar methodologies as text mining but uses the information to uncover trends, patterns, and sentiment to sweeten customer, product, brand, or employee experience. 

So how does text analysis measure sentiment in the absence of language and tone?

Market research companies use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze sentiment from the text so they can decode the emotion, feeling, or context behind blocks of plain text. NLP uses language processing algorithms to evaluate sentiment without any bias. 

Brand and Market Research applications of Text Analytics

Text analytics is used in the field of Experience Management (XM), and it is widely used in the following four main areas:

Customer Experience 

Customer experience uses technology like Machine Learning to provide intelligence around the customer or user experience across all touchpoints. This allows brands to enhance the customer experience by making informed decisions based on the findings. 

Product Experience 

Text analysis provides feedback on the features that need improvement and those that need to be added in future updates. Product usage data and warranty information enable brands to invest in their customers’ most used and valued elements and features, reducing costs and boosting profits. 

Brand Experience 

Text analytics collates data from multiple online sources to identify conversations around the brand. It is also used to analyze how effective marketing campaigns are and how the brand messaging resonates with the target audience—other data points like campaign reach, spending, and customer acquisition impact Return On Investment (ROI). It helps measure the overall brand experience.

Employee Experience

Employee wellbeing and work-life balance issues have recently come to the forefront, and text analytics helps provide real-time reports and data around topics that concern employees. Employee attrition has always been a challenge for most organizations, and text analytics combines data around engagement scores to tackle employee attrition and boost employee retention and satisfaction. 

Armed with good text analytics software and research methodology, brands can arm themselves with the ability to identify and monitor patterns and trends over time. Text analytics helps deliver insights to build a deeper understanding to win over target audiences.

The Internet changed our lives forever. And now, the Internet of Things is transforming our lives yet again.

In recent years, we have seen several significant developments in technology. While these developments were already at play, the pandemic gave a big push and further accelerated the pace of adoption.

In today’s connected consumer world, the physical world meets the digital world,  and these two worlds cooperatively interact. Big data, analytics, and mobile technologies allow objects and devices to share and collect data over an interconnected network and with little human intervention. 

The benefits of using IoT are reduced costs, augmented productivity and efficiencies, and increased convenience. Ultimately, IoT is beneficial for brands and market researchers as it provides them with a wealth of information on consumer habits that they can utilize to increase their profitability.

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Definition of the Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Oracle, “the Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet.”

Simply, IoT is when the products we use every day connect to the Internet and each other. 

Internet of Things (IoT) goes beyond consumer products and permeates many other industries. 

In recent years, one of the most significant developments in the Industrial Revolution is Industry 4.0, and it all began in the manufacturing sector.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data in the manufacturing industry. 

It allows manufacturers to maximize production and improve distribution, transportation, and product development. 

Industry 4.0 is the convergence of state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with the Internet of Things, which results in innovative, interconnected techniques that can communicate, analyze, and employ data to improve decision-making. This ultimately leads to optimizing, connecting, and automating operations.

Industry 4.0 was mostly restricted to the manufacturing industry in its early days but has expanded to benefit other sectors, like warehousing, logistics, and distribution.

Let’s delve into the opportunities for connected tech in other industries:

Healthcare

According to 1Mordor, “the connected medical device market is expected to register a CAGR of 18.92% over the forecast period from 2022 to 2027.” The same report showed the Asia Pacific region as the fastest growing market and North America as the largest market. 

Connected tech in healthcare is known as Connected Care. It is defined as the real-time, electronic communication between a patient and a medical provider, using digital tools such as remote patient monitors, telehealth, wearable technology, secure messaging, and mobile apps, to name a few. 

It is estimated remote monitoring for healthcare could be worth USD 1.1 trillion by 2025. 

Wearable technologies hold a significant share of this market as they provide real-time data so health care providers can help patients in remote locations. They provide convenience and cost-effectiveness by reducing multiple visits to the doctor’s office. With cardiac-related devices expected to be worth USD 800 billion by 2030, there is a massive opportunity for healthcare brands in the cardiac segment for wearables.

COVID-19 has impacted and accelerated the growth of this market. The pandemic brought about new ways of interacting with doctors remotely due to the nature of the pandemic and pressure on health systems and infrastructure. 

While there are data security risks involved, wearables can detect cardiac arrhythmia conditions causing stroke and allow neurologists to diagnose seizures from remote locations; the benefits of these products far outweigh any risks. 

Agriculture

According to Statista, the global market size of smart agriculture is expected to grow to USD 34.1 billion by 2026.

Connected tech in farming utilizes sensors installed in plots or livestock farms. They help collect data, such as soil moisture and plant vigor, which is used to monitor the health of the crop or herd.

With environmental factors in play, the growing demand for food, constraints on the supply side, and changing consumption patterns, agriculture faces enormous challenges. While we have seen massive improvements in equipment and technology in the past five decades, a digital transformation using connected tech will lead us closer to sustainable solutions.

However, digitization in agriculture faces obstacles. In many regions of the world, connectivity is an issue. In areas where connectivity exists, the adoption of digital tools has been relatively slow. 

Therefore, we need to develop infrastructure to enable the use of connectivity. In areas where connectivity already exists, we must take the necessary steps to promote and encourage adoption. 

In addition to offering more effective production methods, higher quality food, and more transparency for consumers, smart agriculture can create sustainable production methods that save water, which lessens the impact on the environment and reduces production costs.

Inventory & Supply Chain Management

IoT devices help companies provide enhanced inventory monitoring capabilities and location tracking, leading to increased storage and distribution efficiencies. Companies can figure out where goods are delayed during transportation. 

With IoT data analytics at their fingertips, supply chain managers can plan better routes based on potential weather hazards, accidents, and road conditions.

Finance

IoT is the coolest kid on the finance block. It provides a network of internet-connected devices that collect and transmit data.

As banking goes digital, consumers enjoy more convenience in the usual banking processes. Banks can leverage technology to know the needs of their customers in real-time. IoT financial technology software can increasingly collect more data about transactions using built-in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), enhancing efficiencies, security, and fraud protection.

Retail

IoT technologies help brands track products throughout their supply chain by utilizing GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This allows brands to monitor and track where their products are at any given time and predict a more accurate delivery time. 

In a world of connected consumers, where they expect brands to be intuitive and relevant, IoT helps brands make deeper connections with their consumers by identifying unique behaviors and having the ability to offer what consumers want —when they want it.

How the IoT is Impacting Market Research

As discussed above, IoT is important to both consumers and businesses in almost every industry. 

So what does this goldmine of data mean for market research? 

Big Data has daily implications for consumers, businesses, and market researchers. The application of data plays a massive role in market research surveys, and so do data processing and analysis. With market research becoming more digital in data collection and analysis, traditional methods are not enough anymore. Therefore, IoT helps market researchers stay abreast of consumer habits and behavior. 

Furthermore, IoT data is more accurate, reliable, and valuable to market researchers. 

It is estimated that, by 2030, roughly 125 billion devices will be connected to the Internet and used daily. Moreover, 5G connections enable the usage of connected devices more than ever before. 
Since there is a growing market for IoT, wearables, and smart technology, consumer feedback is a critical resource to help brands adopt the most compelling business, sales, and marketing strategies to maximize their return on investment.

Ultimately, the winning brands will not be the ones with the best, most innovative technology but the ones that have the perfect combination of innovation and ongoing customer behavior analysis. This is where the role of market research cannot be ignored.

Four Ways IoT Impacts Market ResearchTracking consumer behavior 

  1. Tracking consumer behavior 
    IoT is a network of smart, connected devices that work through the Internet. The data is no longer just available on smartphones and computers but encompasses smart appliances, wearable technology, automobiles, and smart, interconnected devices. In a hyperconnected, digital-first world, the data provides a wealth of sights into consumer habits and behaviors.
  2. Analyzing consumer behavior
    The business world is changing at warp speed, with older forms of consumer engagement becoming obsolete. Companies need to move with digitally empowered consumers and adopt digital data collection and analysis. IoT is an invaluable and more accurate tool for monitoring a product’s performance and consumer behavior, preference, and attitude toward a product. IoT can inform brands on how and where they can improve their product and message.
  3. Predicting behavior analysis to sell when consumers are ready
    IoT enables brands to know when consumers need something, benefiting brands and researchers. For instance, a smart car can predict when the oil change is due on a vehicle, carrying essential consumer data and information. This can be used to advertise locations that offer the service. Therefore, it boosts sales.
  4. Offering tailored experiences
    By integrating data analytics into their operations, brands can offer more tailored experiences and obtain information on consumer behavior. Market research is beneficial here. For instance, in 2013, Disney World introduced the MagicBand. These wearable devices collect a wealth of data from hotel bookings, restaurants, and popular rides. Disney World can enable tailored offers using this data on behavior by utilizing predictive analytics. 

Technology and consumer behavior have drastically transformed in the last two decades. IoT provides data that can help market researchers understand consumers and their habits better than ever before, thereby enabling them to provide reports and analyses to brands that contain accurate, unbiased, action-oriented information free from human error. 

Data is at the heart of all research, and marketing research is no exception. It is the eyes and ears for a brand’s marketing initiatives. The data you gather — and its quality — will make a massive difference to how successful your research is, how accurate your findings are, and the impact on your business goals and strategies.

As a result, data collection is arguably the most critical market research stage. It can make or break the rest of the process, so it’s vital to do everything you can to make this stage run smoothly and successfully.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into why data collection matters in marketing research, the different types of data you should focus on, and all the options available to you when it comes to collecting that data. Let’s start by defining what data collection means.

What is data collection in market research?

Data collection entails gathering all the necessary raw information for your market research. Some people also extend the definition to include analyzing that data to extract valuable insights for your research objectives.

It is a detailed, planned search process for all relevant data made by a researcher for a hypothesis.

The most critical purpose of data collection in market research is to ensure that reliable data is collected for statistical analysis so brands can make decisions backed by rich data. Therefore, your data must be high-quality, relevant, and plentiful enough to draw meaningful insights.

Why data collection is so important?

Data collection is a critical step in the research process, often the primary step. You can analyze and store essential information about your existing and potential customers when you collect data. This process saves your organization money and resources, as you can make data-driven decisions. Data collection also allows you to create a library or database of customers (and their information) for marketing to them in the future or retargeting them.

Three main uses of data collection in market research:

  1. Data collection helps you make informed decisions and analyses, building complete and insightful market research reports that can drive future product launches, market-entry campaigns, marketing strategies, and more. Data collection is the foundational step for various activities that can lead to business growth.
  2. Data collection allows you to build a database of information about your market for future use. While your primary goal might be to create a research report with a specific objective, the data can still be helpful for future activities.
  3. Data collection allows you to target marketing and outreach more efficiently, thereby allowing your organization to save money and do more with its resources.

The different types of data collection in marketing research

There are several different types of data to consider at this stage — let’s examine them more closely.

We can break down data into two main categories, which makes it easier to understand the types of data we want to focus on and helps us hone in on the research methods and channels that will be most useful.

Primary data

Primary data is collected directly by your researchers, specifically for your research purposes. This data is primarily collected from interviews, surveys, focus groups, and experiments. In other words, this data did not exist before your team collected it.

Secondary data

Secondary data refers to data that already existed before you started your research. Other researchers have already collected and compiled this data before. You can find this type of data in places like government reports, the analysis of other businesses, polls and surveys, and the work of NGOs. It’s typically cheaper and easier to obtain than your primary data, but it won’t be as relevant to your project.

Qualitative research

Qualitative research is usually the first step in data collection. It’s more textual than statistical and involves collecting non-numerical data like interview transcripts, video recordings, and survey responses.

Qualitative data is typically collected via first-hand observation through focus groups, interviews, and ethnography. It is a way of diving deep into ideas and concepts, allowing researchers to learn more about specific topics that may not be well understood.

Quantitative Research

Where qualitative research is relatively more text-based, quantitative research focuses on numbers and statistics. This data is expressed in charts, graphs, and tables and is typically used to test initial findings.

Methods used to collect quantitative data include more closed-ended survey questions, mobile surveys, and Likert scales. The main benefit of this type of data is that it allows researchers to make more broad generalizations and predictions, but it’s not well-suited for diving deep into particular questions.

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How data collection in marketing research works

There are many steps involved in the data collection process. Some of these steps begin even before you start collecting data.

Prior steps

There are several steps you should take before your data collection begins, such as:

Make sure you have all the necessary permission to collect your data. Today, data privacy laws are stronger than ever, so researchers need to take extra care to comply with regulations and have the full consent of their subjects and participants. It’s best to work with a legal compliance team to draft all the required documents, forms, and contracts to share with your research participants from the very beginning.

Make sure you have the support of any company decision-makers and stakeholders. It may be helpful at this stage to prepare a preliminary report informing any higher-ups of your plans, goals, sources, and any methods you plan to use.

Try to predict and pre-empt any possible challenges or problems, such as privacy regulations, collection methods, infrastructure, or budget. Anticipating any issues now will help you avoid costly problems and make the whole process run more smoothly.

Put together a team of skilled and qualified researchers and analysts. Data collection can be a difficult task, and you need to have the right experience and skillsets on your team.

Decide on your data collection methods.

The next stage is to decide which data collection methods you will use to collect data for your marketing research report. You will likely employ various methods here, as each has unique pros and cons. Here are the main methods you should consider:

・ Surveys

There are many ways to conduct surveys — in-person, online, post, email, mobile message, others. Surveys differ in content and structure — from simple Likert scales with just five possible numerical responses to more qualitative open-ended questions.

・ Focus groups

Focus groups allow you to bring multiple participants together to discuss the subject of your research and share their opinions. This format can be a great way to brainstorm ideas, and people can often bring good ideas out of each other. To get the best results, everyone should get a chance to speak, and no one person should dominate the group.

・ Interviews

One-to-one interviews are the best ways to dive deep into a person’s opinions about your brand or a specific product. However, they can be time-consuming and may require much planning.

・Observation and experimental research

This type of data collection involves observing individuals as they interact with specific products or services. It helps get around certain biases that people might have in interviews and surveys and cut right through to their true thoughts. However, it isn’t easy and requires an expert touch to get it right.

Identify and prepare for common challenges with data collection.

During the data collection process, you’re likely to encounter several challenges. The good news is that you can avoid these challenges and mitigate any impacts on your research report with proper preparation.

Here’s what to look out for:
・Bad methodology results in poor quality data

A lot can go wrong with your data collection methods — badly identified participants, poorly designed questions, and choosing the wrong methods are just a few examples. This can result in poor quality data, leading to erroneous conclusions and an unsuccessful research report. Take the time to work with experienced researchers and build the right data collection strategy for your needs.

・Logistical challenges

You will also come across many logistical challenges. For instance, you’ll need a big venue to hold everyone if you’re running a focus group. If you want to conduct a stream of interviews, you’ll need to hire a space for a particular time. You may need to arrange transport, refreshments, and a wide range of other logistical demands. If you fail to plan this properly in advance, your team could find itself in a highly stressful situation.

・Using the proper channels

The channels you use to connect with your audience are consequential — what works well for one demographic might completely fail for another. If you choose the wrong media (like Twitter to send surveys to an older demographic), you could have a poor response rate and lack usable data.

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How to collect data effectively

Get to know your audience.

You will need to have an intimate and deep understanding of your audience and the people you collect data from. This will ensure you target the right people, ask the appropriate questions, choose the correct methods and channels, and analyze the data in the proper contexts.

There are many ways to get to know your audience better in advance of data collection:

Use social media to spend time in the same spaces and groups as your audience members, chat with them, and find out who they are and what makes them tick.

Work with your sales and marketing teams — it’s their job to understand your audience, and they’ll have access to valuable insights.

Look at who is using your competitors’ brands and products.

Once you understand whom you target, it often helps create detailed user personas, outlining details about your typical audience members like their age groups, income brackets, and education levels. You can then use this information to tailor your data collection strategy to be relevant and valuable.

Prepare for the analysis of your data.

Collecting data is one thing, but you should always have an eye on the analysis of that data. This is where you extract insights and draw tangible value from the data — allowing you to make informed business decisions and create a valuable and applicable market research report.

When planning your collection methods and recording the results, always remember that someone will be analyzing this data. Be organized, clear, and detailed, and work with your analysts to ensure they are aligned with your approach.

Use a wide range of methods and channels.

The best data collection relies on various tools and channels instead of focusing on just one or two. By combining a number of the approaches mentioned in this article, you will connect with a broader part of your market, gaining a better understanding of how different demographics feel and leading to a more valuable and insightful analysis.

For example, if you focus solely on digital channels like social media and online surveys, your responses may skew heavily towards younger people. Some in-person interviews, focus groups, and postal surveys help target a broader range of age groups and accurately reflect your market and their views.

Data collection is a critical part of market research. It serves many important purposes, and it is essential to get it right to create effective research reports and complete a vast range of different business objectives.

At Kadence, we help companies worldwide fine-tune their data collection, laying the foundations for informed and effective market research.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you do the same.

Data collection comes with a host of unique challenges, and one of the most significant considerations for researchers is the topic of ethics in market research. It is essential to think about the ethical implications of your market research — are you collecting data in the right way without infringing on other people’s right to privacy, security, and the control of their data?

Before you start your data collection work, you need to ensure everyone on the team is aligned and understands their ethical responsibilities. Failing to do this could result in legal woes, a damaged company reputation, and other serious problems.

This article will show you why ethics are so important in data collection, what you need to be aware of, and how to ensure your data collection always falls on the right side of what’s considered ethical.

What are ethics in data collection?

What exactly do we mean when we talk about ethical data collection? Let’s delve into the definition to clear any misconceptions and ensure the rest of the article makes sense.

Data collection ethics is all about the right and wrong in collecting, analyzing, processing, and sharing data.

This article will focus on data collection for market research purposes. The data we’re talking about here mainly refers to the personal data of our research participants.

Ethics has been an essential consideration for as long as we’ve been collecting data. By understanding it, you can ensure that the data you collect and the research you produce is ethically sound, respects the rights of your subjects, and avoids landing you in legal trouble.

Why are ethical considerations so important for data collection?

There are several key guidelines market researchers have to follow so they can adhere to ethical norms when it comes to data collection, such as:

・If you prioritize ethics, it usually results in better research.

When you care about the truth, accuracy, and minimizing errors, your findings will be more reliable and lead to more valuable conclusions, benefiting your business.

・If you take ethics seriously, it shows that your brand is trustworthy and has integrity.

Conversely, suppose you’re violating ethical norms with your research; this will reflect very poorly on your reputation and (among other things) make it tough to find future participants for market research.

・You want to stay on the right side of the law.

Today there are more data privacy regulations than ever before, like Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA. Unethical data collection can lead to legal trouble and harsh financial penalties.

Guidelines: How to ensure your data collection is ethical.

Follow the guidelines detailed below to ensure your data collection is ethical.

Always obtain the proper consent.

When you collect data for market research, you’re using the personal data of your participants. When someone answers survey questions, takes part in an interview or focus group, or participates in an experiment, the data they share with you is protected by law in many jurisdictions.

From an ethical standpoint, an individual’s data is their personal property. As a result, you have to ensure you have the right to collect and use that data. Make sure to draft a consent agreement that informs your participants about your research and clearly outlines how you intend to use their data. This refers to asking for informed consent — in other words, your participants should know what they’re consenting to instead of being asked to give a blanket agreement.

In short, always get explicit consent from your research subjects before you collect or use any of their data, and always make sure they are given all the facts upfront about how you will use it. This is one area to work with an experienced legal team.

Always be clear about privacy and confidentiality.

You should be clear from the beginning about how private and confidential your participant’s data will be. For example, when publishing a market research report, will you use the names of your subjects or provide any information that could be linked back to their identity? If so, it’s essential to let them know before you collect any data.

You also need to consider technical capabilities in this area. Are your systems secure enough, or are they vulnerable to hacks and data breaches? You can still be legally punished if you lose sensitive user data due to a cyberattack in many cases.

Personally identifiable information (PII) covers many different data types, like a person’s full name, address, credit card information, or identification number.

Avoid bias.

As an experienced researcher will tell you — it’s all too easy to rig research in your favor. Wording specific questions in a certain way, focusing on some areas over others, guiding your subject in a particular direction with verbal nudges and body language — all these things can impact the result of your research.

This isn’t just unethical; it also leads to less accurate data. Pushing your research subjects towards specific answers might fulfill short-term goals, but in the long-term, it leads to a poorer understanding of your market and a shaky foundation for future research. Ensure all your moderators and researchers are aware of this and trained to avoid even subconsciously leading people in a specific direction.

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Nine ways to reduce bias in your market research

1. Minimize confirmation bias.

It’s common for teams to embark on a research project with a clear idea of what they want to discover. Maybe you want to know that all your participants love your planned products, your latest marketing campaign is destined for success, or a specific demographic is a big fan of your brand.

This can lead to confirmation bias, where researchers hone in on answers they like and gloss over ones that don’t support their favorite hypothesis, leading to skewed results that sound encouraging at first but ultimately don’t benefit the company. Be aware that your expected or desired outcome may not happen, and train your research teams to be level-headed and impartial.

2. Be aware of question order bias.

Question order bias is when the order of your questions can influence participants to give a specific answer or be more favorable to a particular idea. For example, if you ask the following questions:

  1. What do you like about the new iPhone?
  2. Can you give an example of a great tech company?

Here, the participant is already thinking about iPhones and Apple after the first question, and this could lead them to give a similar answer to question two, even if they might have said something else had the order of questions been different. Be aware of the order of your questions, and always try to word them as neutrally as possible.

3. Be transparent about your data collection methods.

When you publish your research, you should make your methodology available to anyone who wants to read it. Be clear about what data collection methods and sources you used, whom you spoke to (being careful to avoid sharing personally identifiable information), your goals, the sample size, how you selected participants, and more. This helps people check your findings’ accuracy and shows that you’re credible and professional.

If there are any limitations or anything you’re uncertain about, disclose this. Don’t state something as a clear fact when it isn’t. Certain parts of your findings might need future research to confirm them, and you should clearly state this.

4. Maintain integrity

It may seem obvious, but it’s paramount to collect data with honest intentions and hold yourself to these standards. If you collect data for reasons that might negatively impact others, this is unethical, even if your collection methods and other factors are legitimate.

Make sure the questions you ask are relevant to your research goals. Asking questions — particularly personal ones — about your subjects that don’t inform your research is unethical.

5. Don’t cause harm to your participants.

You should always identify and avoid anything in your research process that could cause harm to your subjects. This could be physical harm — for example, asking participants to sample food to which they may be allergic — or emotional trauma, like asking people to revisit uncomfortable memories or placing them in situations where they might not feel at ease.

Anything that could harm your participants in any way is unethical. Make sure they understand the process from the beginning, regularly check in on them, and be sure to disclose anything that could potentially cause problems.

6. Don’t waste people’s time.

Your participants are busy people. They don’t have vast amounts of time to dedicate to your research, and they’re helping you out by agreeing to take part. Be respectful of your participants’ time and don’t keep them waiting longer than necessary. Aim to keep your research process tightly organized and always inform people about delays and other time constraints as soon as possible.

7. Be aware of unexpected outcomes.

Even the most meticulously conducted research can sometimes have unexpected consequences. It can be deemed unlawful if individuals suffer harm due to your study.

As a result, you need to take extra care to anticipate and prevent any unexpected adverse outcomes from your research. You won’t know for sure until the study is published, but you can minimize the chances of unintended consequences by being cautious and diligent.

8. Correct errors.

It’s normal for research to contain one or two errors. In itself, that’s not unethical, nor does it necessarily mean your research isn’t valuable. However, it is imperative to correct the mistakes as quickly as possible and edit your research report to make this clear.

If you don’t correct errors when you become aware of them, this is unethical as you’re knowingly publishing misleading information.

9. Work with an experienced research team.

The best way to ensure your data collection is ethical is to work with a team of experts. Research professionals understand the ins and outs of data ethics, and they know what to do and what to avoid. They also have an in-depth and current understanding of the legal aspects of market research. At Kadence, we have years of experience helping companies worldwide conduct market research, and ethics is always a priority. Get in touch with us to find out more.