To better reach your target audiences consistently, let your understanding of their thoughts and behaviors drive your decisions.
That’s why qualitative research and quantitative research are such crucial parts of any good business plan, but the way you complete that research is transforming. That’s why we’re going to briefly talk about new trends within the research field when it comes to participant-focused research.
These days, more and more companies use participant-focused methods to drive their strategies forward. As the name suggests, this simply means market research teams place their target audiences’ thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs at the forefront of their strategies to better engage with and retain them as long-term customers with a high customer lifetime value.
This is mainly because this research approach is much faster and more convenient for researchers and consumers alike. In this article, we’ll go over what you should understand about incorporating this type of research into your business strategies.
- The difference between new participant-focused methods vs. traditional methods,
- What that means for your business, and
- How you can gain and keep participants’ attention for your own research.
Participant-Focused Research: Now vs. Then
For as long as businesses have valued consumers’ thoughts and feelings about their products or services, one of the main areas researchers and professionals in non-research roles focus on is how to find participants for a research study. Moreover, they’ve tried to figure out how to keep these participants engaged to get the best feedback.
Participant-focused research has been around since the beginning of consumerism and the rise of marketing, but the ways in which we collect it have changed. This type of research is exactly as the name sounds: research focused on the participants’ thoughts and feelings. The main difference between more traditional research methods and newer techniques is that we can now rely on the internet and technology to connect with people, as opposed to exclusively meeting in person.
In the past, companies relied on traditional methods to learn more about their consumer base, including face-to-face interviews, focus groups, and in-person ethnographies. These days however, there has been a shift to more convenient participant-focused research methods like programmatic sampling, online panels, video discussions, mobile ethnographies, and more.
On the plus side, online avenues can make it much easier to reach people and make them more willing to participate in your studies. Why? Because they don’t have to work as hard to be a part of your research.
56 % of U.S. consumers are more loyal to brands that understand them
|However, more traditional face-to-face methods tend to foster more trust, which is why it’s your job to work harder to gain trust through these newer online methods. According to Forbes, 56 percent of U.S. consumers are more loyal to brands that understand them and 89 percent are loyal to brands that align with their values.
That said, your new job is to find new ways to gain your customers’ trust and put your participants’ needs first, so you can use their feedback to drive your marketing strategies forward. And that’s what participant-focused research is all about.
What This Shift in Participant-Focused Market Research Means for Your Business
Online research methods opened so many avenues to reach your potential customers, but also posed more challenges with gaining peoples’ trust and protecting their privacy. These days, consumers are more and more skeptical of corporate entities. A 2021 survey demonstrated that more than 80 percent of consumers use trust as a deciding factor for their buying decisions even though only 34 percent trust the brands they use.
It is for this reason you should pay close attention to building and maintaining trust with your consumer base when gaining insights and forming business strategies. When focusing on your top-of-funnel strategies, you’ll be able to draw people to your business and learn from how they interact with your brand.
Moreover, you’ll want to invest more time and energy into online avenues versus more traditional methods, making it important to keep up with current trends and with what your customers think. These days, the internet is the primary space for businesses to reach their target audiences.
How to Get Participants to Take Action
The best way to attract and retain participants for your qualitative and quantitative research plans is to make it easy for them to engage with you. Reaching out to your consumer base through online avenues allows them to be a part of everything without being too inconvenienced.
On top of making this process easier on your participants, it’s important for you to be as open and honest with them as possible as they go through their buyers’ journey. The more transparent you are, the more trustworthy you will become and the more first-party data you can collect straight from the source.
When it comes to reaching out to your target audience to gather this information, there are countless avenues you can take, especially if you have market research experts like Schlesinger Group at your side to offer efficient solutions to reach your customers. Newer participant-focused methods include:
- Online Focus Groups & Surveys
- Online Communities
- Product Tests
- Mobile Ethnographies
- Virtual In-Depth Interviews
All in all, your customers’ thoughts and feelings make for a great foundation when forming a successful business plan, which is why so many companies focus on that aspect of their strategies.
Start Improving Your Research Strategies Today
One of the keys to a successful business is having a solid plan for gathering solid insights about your target audience that revolve around participant-focused research. If you’re ready to learn more about forming a solid participant-focused market research approach, get in touch with our experts at the Schlesinger Group.