Great market research should not be complicated

Automated market research platforms can simplify the market research process while offering marketers agility and great results each time – just like at-home pizza making.
29 June 2021
Great market research should not be complicated
Will Galgey

Managing Director, Kantar Marketplace

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Pizza and market research have something in common. Once you have a great recipe, why mess with success? Let me explain.

During lockdown I invested in an Ooni Pizza Oven. The oven delivers on its claim to make good pizza at home, and it pairs with an app that makes preparing the dough simple. Simply enter the type of pizza you want into the Ooni app, and it provides you with the exact measurements of yeast, flour, water and oil that you will need. Just follow the app’s directions and you get wonderful pizza dough every time.

When someone else has done the hard work for you, it pays to follow the recipe – and that applies to market research just as much as pizza. Here’s why.

Streamlining the market research process

With the advent of new technology and AI, many companies are seeking to do for market research what Ooni has done for pizza. But there is more to simplifying market research than a faster, tech-enabled market research process. A great technology solution incorporates learning from years of conducting custom research, so that any user can be confident that they will get the desired outcome. From design to analysis, each stage of the research should be streamlined to deliver exactly what is necessary for a good result, without sacrificing best practice or overloading the respondent with unnecessary questions.

Automation: a “recipe” for great market research

Automated market research is a big contrast to the way things used to be, but we believe it is a change for the better. Thinking back to my early career commissioning research on behalf of clients, many meetings were spent on detailed discussions of wording, question sequence, and specifying data tabulations. Now, thanks to the application of automation technology and AI, the complete end-to-end research process can go from start to findings in as little as a day. Business today demands speed and simplicity; unlocking the value of agile market research comes down to finding (and following) a great recipe.

Knowing when customised market research isn’t the right fit

Conducting custom market research takes time and special consideration, particularly in the context of a project like an ad test or a concept test. These types of questionnaires are designed so that results can be compared across tests, so additional questions may add little incremental value. Does it matter whether people recognise the music in an ad, just so long as people like it? If a product is designed to appeal to a wide audience, do you really need detailed segmentation of the test results? Yes, things like this are nice to know, but one should ask whether they will really change the decisions that need to be made. Especially if you are not trained in market research, it can be all too easy to include questions that end up giving misleading results. Given that customisation can also add lead time, it’s important to consider whether your type of market research truly requires a bit more engineering.

Focusing attention on the details that really matter

One of the risks with the desire to customise market research projects (or similarly, your pizza recipe) is that you can easily end up overdoing it. Returning to the pizza-making example, I have come to learn that less is more when it comes to toppings. A few simple, quality ingredients often make for a much better result than loading on more and more. And the same is true of market research. Simplicity does not just lead to clearer and faster results; it also makes communicating the key findings easier.

Marketers want simplicity just as much as their consumers do. The marketing team does not want to worry about how the research was conducted, they just want to focus on what the results mean and what they should do next. When findings focus on the key elements of project success, people are more likely to appreciate what is important – and less likely to get distracted by the inconsequential.

Process replicability brings its own rewards

Custom research has its place, and not every market research project can be turned into a simple recipe. But when it comes to ad testing and product testing, for example, we have decades of proof that a consistent research methodology brings its own rewards. Without a replicable process, you cannot compare results across tests, and would otherwise lose the substantial value of having relevant benchmarks against which to judge your results. While the subject of the test may differ, what everyone wants to know is, will this new ad or product be successful? A simplified market research process focusses everyone’s attention on what matters most – the results.

Great outcomes every time

We live in a world that is complex and time-pressured enough, without making our lives more difficult than they need to be. Simplicity and replicability should be valued, not resisted. If anything should be resisted, it is the desire to over-engineer and customise processes that otherwise would deliver perfectly acceptable results. Automated market research platforms, with years of best practice built in, really do simplify the research process, offer agility to marketers and give great, reliable results every time. Just like finding (and sticking to) the recipe for a top notch pizza.

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