By Bob Relihan, Senior Vice President
Leonard Murphy has just posted a preview of the latest GRIT Study. In it he identifies the top emerging trends in Marketing Research. The top five are:
1. Online Communities
2. Mobile Surveys
3. Social Media Analytics
4. Text Analytics
5. Big Data Analytics
As Murphy notes, these methods have reached mainstream status with the substantial majorities of researchers either using them or actively considering their adoption. The next tier of methods has a smaller majorities using or consider them:
6. Webcam-Based Interviews
7. Eye Tracking
8. Mobile Qualitative
9. Mobile Ethnography
These two lists speak to many of the changes in the research environment. For instance, mobile is the environment where we will find consumers and where they will expect to communicate their attitudes and beliefs. Approaches we have typically used in a face-to-face setting in the past are being adapted to the online and mobile spaces. Big data, of course, is impossible to ignore.
But, if we look at these methods from the vantage point of the nature of the data involved, it is clear to me that seven of the ten are "qualitative" methods. That is not to say, however, that these are focus groups in disguise. Yet, with the exception of mobile surveys, eye tracking, and micro-surveys, these methods demand the analysis of non-structured, free-form data which is the essence of qualitative research. To be sure, some of these methods are bringing a more rigorous analytic perspective to this data. But, they will only be successful if they are implemented by those who are comfortable drawing insights from non-structured data. And, that is the qualitative researcher.