How Fast Should Market Research Be?

Fast CarOne of my responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing at Survey Analytics is making sure that people who fill out the contact forms on our websites get a quick reply.

Recently I had to deal with a technology glitch which was causing an unacceptably long delay between the time when interested parties filled out one of our forms and thetime someone on our team was notified about the inquiry.

The problem is now fixed, but there is still a lag between the time the form is filled out and the time a team member is notified – slightly less than an hour.

I realized as I went through this process that, because of the way our technology-driven modern society has trained me, I had come to expect the information to be transferred instantaneously.

Of course, we want to be responsive to inquiries from potential customers and collaborators. But really, it’s not necessary that we be notified in a matter of seconds. In fact, it’s better to wait at least a little bit before following up, lest you come across as creepily aggressive. The reality is that if the matter is that timely, the person will most certainly contact us via the telephone, live chat or even via email.

That episode got me thinking about the drive toward instantaneity in market research.

Technology has made it easier to collect more information in less time. On balance, that most certainly a good development. It has made possible rapid feedback loops which have brought significant value to customers.

However, because something can be done does not necessarily mean that it should be done.

Some things by their nature take a long time.

It is the market researcher’s responsibility to be in command of every part of the research process – from design to execution to interpretation to communication. At each point along the way there are choices to be made. New tools are being developed and deployed at a rapid pace, and each tool presents a choice that can be made.

If you are not careful, the technology can end up driving the methodology rather than the other way around.

Understand the tools that are available to you and use them to create the best possible research process, regardless of speed.

About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.

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