If you want to understand what makes your target audience tick, consumer research is a must. But how do you go about gathering insights about consumer behavior, preferences, and values? In this article, we discuss just that, exploring strategies and best practices for effectively collecting and interpreting consumer data in a digital landscape.
What is consumer research?
Consumer research, also known as market research, is the process of aggregating information about consumers and their behaviors. The insights gleaned from this process allow you to better understand consumer preferences, needs, and expectations. As a result, your brand can make data-driven decisions about everything from product development to marketing strategies.
The exact means of conducting consumer research vary from company to company. However, this research is typically conducted through methods like surveys, focus groups, and data analytics. These tools garner various types of information, including:
Demographic data encompasses information such as age, gender, income, education level, marital status, and location. Demographics help your brand identify its target audience and develop products and services that appeal to that respective group of individuals.
Psychographic data refers to any information about consumers’ attitudes, values, interests, and lifestyle. This helps companies understand the emotional and psychological aspects that affect purchasing decisions.
Similarly, market researchers may attempt to collect information about consumers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards specific products, brands, or industries. A cleaning product brand may, for instance, measure consumers’ loyalty to a competing brand.
Behavioral data refers to consumer actions, such as purchase history, product usage, and shopping habits. The more you know about how consumers have acted in the past, the more accurately you can predict future behavior.
Purchase intent data
Purchase intent data allows you to understand consumers’ purchase intentions and the factors affecting whether or not they buy a product or service. This information is key to product development as well as marketing.
Product and service feedback
Collecting feedback from consumers about their experiences with products or services—from complaints to overall satisfaction—can drive product improvements. This type of information can also enhance customer service.
Consumer research methods
To yield meaningful insights, your brand must adopt a systematic approach to consumer research. It should begin with a clear definition of research objectives, including what specific questions need to be answered and what outcomes are desired. From there, you should determine the most appropriate research tool.
A consumer research survey is a structured data collection method that gathers information from a sample of respondents. This information may be related to the respondents’ behaviors, opinions, attitudes, or preferences. Surveys may be conducted online, via telephone, or in-person.
- Efficiency: A well-designed survey can collect a large volume of data quickly, making this tool a cost-effective choice.
- Standardization: Surveys offer consistency in question structure and response options, reducing potential bias and ensuring that all respondents receive the same set of questions.
- Quantifiable data: Surveys generate quantitative data, allowing market researchers to garner insights through statistical analysis. Even open-ended survey questions can be quantified using text analysis tools.
Collect online survey data more efficiently and effectively with Kantar
When you partner with Kantar to conduct consumer research, you benefit from our agile data collection approach. This includes longitudinal studies with bespoke methodologies, quick-turn tests, and other ad hoc projects. We also provide clients with easy-to-use dashboards for in-house analytics and insights.
A focus group is a qualitative research method in which a small group of selected participants engage in a structured, facilitated discussion about a specific product, service, brand, or other related topic. The goal of a focus group is to gather deeper, more nuanced insights regarding consumer attitudes and perceptions.
- Richer data: Focus groups allow for a deeper understanding of participants’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This helps market researchers understand the “why” behind consumer behaviors.
- Real-time clarification: When survey takers are completing an online questionnaire, they may provide misleading information if they don’t quite understand a question. But in a real-life scenario, moderators can provide clarification.
- Group dynamics: Interaction among participants can generate additional insights that might not emerge in one-on-one interviews or surveys. This group setting also allows market researchers to obtain more information faster compared to interviewing individuals one by one.
Syndicated research refers to data that is aggregated by market research companies, consulting firms, or other organizations. This data is then sold to multiple clients or subscribers who are interested in understanding the dynamics of a specific industry.
- Cost-effectiveness: Purchasing syndicated research can be cheaper than generating first-party data. This makes consumer research available to companies with limited marketing resources.
- Efficiency: Conducting extensive consumer research studies can take time. But with syndicated research, market researchers can access the information they need when they need it.
- Benchmarking: Brands can use syndicated research to benchmark their performance against industry standards and competitors.
At Kantar, we believe the best way to understand consumer behavior is to witness it firsthand. That is why we aggregate high-quality consumer data through tracking the buying behavior of 750,000 consenting consumers. This allows our clients to understand the values and beliefs of real shoppers.
- Deeper insights: By analyzing consumer purchase behavior, companies can identify trends, preferences, and patterns and distil meaningful insights that inform everything from marketing campaigns to product development.
- Competitive advantage: Understanding consumer behavior can provide a competitive advantage, allowing brands to stay ahead of market trends and pivot in the face of shifting consumer preferences.
- Market segmentation: Tracking purchase behavior helps companies segment consumers based on preferences, frequency of purchases, and spending habits. In return, brands can tailor messaging in ways that appeal to each respective market segment.
Ensuring your consumer research data is high quality
In today’s competitive marketplace, consumer research data collected from real people who are who they say they are is essential. Without it, your data may not match reality and you risk making misinformed business decisions. In return, you may waste resources and even risk damaging brand reputation.
At Kantar, we understand the value of data quality. We meticulously follow best practices and set the industry standard for fraud-secured, quality data collection. When you partner with us for your custom research, or use our syndicated research, you can rest easy knowing that our survey respondent panels are:
Unfortunately, survey fraud can taint entire datasets. The good news is that Kantar has developed an advanced anti-fraud solution called Qubed. Using cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence, this state-of-the-art software detects fraudulent activities where humans or other standard measures cannot.
Diverse and representative
Through the Kantar Profiles Audience Network, we connect you with more than 170 million global panelists and 2 billion data points around habits, characteristics, and behaviors. This ensures that the resulting data is diverse and representative of your target audience.
Survey fatigue can have grave consequences, from incomplete responses to survey dropout. Fortunately, our proprietary survey programming tools are best-in-class. They're designed and tested to deliver the engaged answers from respondents on any device. In addition, our experts in survey design can help you craft questionnaires that evoke thoughtful responses and authentic insights.
Learn more about how Kantar can increase the accuracy and reliability of your consumer research data
Consumer research can be a helpful tool for understanding the preferences, values, and behaviors of your target audience. However, only high-quality consumer research data can help your organization make well-informed decisions that truly satisfy consumer wants and needs. Learn more about the survey fraud the industry is seeing today and how Kantar can boost the quality of your consumer data quality in the State of Online Research Panels.