two speed market research

Getting the most out of market research using two speeds

We are slowly eradicating binary ideologies in the insights industry; yet there is still some hesitation to commit to more than one speed of research concurrently. Is a two-speed market research strategy the key to unleashing our potential?

One of the big themes consistently running throughout industry discussions is speed. As insight professionals we are constantly on the search for new, innovative, and, quick methods of producing high-quality data for stakeholders. As such, market research has developed into a very speed-focussed field.

The demand for quick insights that inform decisions at the speed of business has risen exponentially and we have met that demand with the dedication befitting our expertise. But for all our focus on quick, agile insight generation, we’re in danger of disregarding the benefits of steady, continuous or long-term research.

However, we don’t need to divert our thinking from quick-paced research entirely, there is a neatly-wrapped solution that allows us to make use of both quick- and slow-paced methodologies in one prominent two-speed strategy. The Two-Speed market research strategy, allows us to conduct concurrent research projects in parallel, helping us keep our finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment, respond to unexpected events when they pop up, and future-proof organisations as predictive insights roll in.

Two speeds of market research

Binary thinking is slowly being eradicated in the insights industry: it’s neither quantitative nor qualitative, agile or structured, online or in-person market research. Just like in improv, we are fully embracing the word ‘and’ when it comes to designing the right research projects, which, aided by technology, means we can pull off increasingly elaborate and personalised research experiences for every single requirement stakeholders could possibly realise.

However, there is still a hangover in the binary ideology, surrounding the scale of research production and the number of projects that can be ran concurrently. This is mostly to do with reasons like budget and time, especially after a pandemic when both considerations are tighter than ever; so insight professionals are either conducting quick ad-hoc projects reacting to situations and events, or a longer-term, slower project that seeks to gather as much detail as possible.

Insight teams should be looking to combine the two in a two-speed research strategy, a hybrid methodology that brings together the benefits of both, while eradicating the dangerous of only choosing one.

1. Fast, reactive research

This first type of research is the efficient speed of insight generation we’ve been working towards attaining for a while now. Quick research typically takes the form of surface-level data gathering, responding to a shift in consumer behaviour or a specific event, exploring the new beginnings of a concept or product, or exploring the market for new opportunities.

Agile, ad-hoc, or quick-turn solutions are typical examples of fast-paced research strategies, but for these to work best, they need the right participants to really activate the potential and generate the best insights possible to inform stakeholder decisions. As such, this quick research works best when insight teams either have a continuous community or panel of participants on tap, or have a sample provider ready to recruit the right people for the job.

While all methodologies would fit within this strategy, there are only a few that would be able to do quick research justice; luckily these are core methodologies that market research revolves around: surveys, focus groups, quick and open polls, etc., the tools we can use to whip up a very efficient data gathering project at a moment’s notice.

2. Slow, future-oriented research

Slower-paced research is the complete opposite, but works well in conjunction with fast-paced research. There are a wide range of methodologies we can employ, with any tool we could possibly want to implement: surveys, focus groups, and polls, but also in-depth interviews, diary studies, geo-location studies, eye-tracking tools, and so many more techniques can be combined and used effectively with the luxury of a little more time to really make the most of the insight generation process.

Slower-paced, long-term research has become a primary tool for being able to understand global change, behavioural trends, directional shift of brands, and other truly large-scale research projects that require in-depth studies to truly form a deep and understanding that will inform many important decisions across organisations and industries. But this type of research isn’t necessarily restricted to trend forecasting or future-proofing, although these slow-paced projects are great for three research project themes in particular:

  • Tracking – for example, sentiment, behaviour, opportunity, and competition.
  • Testing – product, concept, service, user or customer experience.
  • Validation – or the disproving of theories and repelling the temptation of gut decision-making.

Implementing two-speed strategies

Instead of two medium-impact projects working one after the other, waiting in a queue until there’s time to dedicate, running them both concurrently so they’re feeding into each other will create a new level of high-impact research strategy that enhances the effectiveness of insight steams and boost insight generation so businesses can make agile decisions at will with 100% confidence.

But for this to happen, insight teams need the right infrastructure in place, the right technology stacked at the ready to implement any projects within the two-speed strategy. While we can’t predict what tools we’ll need right at the start, we can always add more to the stack when necessary, but having that starting stack there to customise and evolve to fit the projects we conduct will help minimise the effort of implementing new research.

At that point, it’s a case of understanding which projects fit into each stream of the research strategy, continuous research will obviously fit into the slower, longer-term stream, while any ad-hoc or spin-off research projects will fit into the quicker, time-sensitive research stream. Of course, there will be times where one project might need to be split between the two, and we can use the insights from one to better inform the direction and construction of questions in the other; the result of which will be the building of robust, powerful, and accurate insights that are bound to better inform key decisions across the organisation.

Author: Emily James

Source: Greenbook Blog