How Research Technology Can Help You Keep Pace with Consumer Sentiment

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Generation Z is poised to take over the reins and rebuild society as they see fit. The younger generation is casting a critical eye on every industry, forming an opinion on what is working and what is not—and they are making sure they’re being heard. 

Consider climate change. Gucci recently announced its efforts to embrace resale through a partnership with TheRealReal. Not only was this clever marketing a way to interest Gen Z in luxury retail, but it simultaneously ensures their younger target demographic that the brand cares about sustainability and its own carbon footprint.

But let’s take a step back. How does a top retail luxury brand like Gucci know that climate change is on the minds of Gen Z? And, perhaps more importantly, how does Gucci know that such a seemingly out-of-the-box brand partnership will come across as genuine and authentic, and be effective in reaching its target shoppers?

The answer is through smart market research and listening to their customers. And while certain brands, like Gucci, are starting to better embrace the principle, there is still work to be done. Let’s explore a few reasons why it’s necessary to better democratize market research to, in turn, help any brand keep up with the unprecedented pace and scale of changing consumer sentiment.

Traditional Research Just Isn’t Working

A few years back, no one in the research world would have known programmatic was on its way to shake everything up. Now, programmatic buying has become the inevitable solution to a once-unsolvable problem, and an entire industry has grown up around it: research technology (ResTech). Before programmatic came into play, brands weren’t producing the most effective campaigns, as they weren’t equipped with the proper insights and research at the scale and speed ResTech now provides. As market researchers evaluate the impact of programmatic buying, they are coming to understand the value of research enabled through ResTech innovation.

Consumers’ points of view live and die online; their attitudes and usage trends can be miles ahead of any socio-demographic indicators that were once considered identifying criteria. Now, market research can dive into these habits, with the assistance of survey demographics, and can help develop, and measure, brands’ messages across different channels and platforms.

This element is key with brands, similar to how Gucci knows and understands that environmentalism is important to their customers. And with market research being powered by technology that can get brands to know their customers’ sentiments fast and early, the impact and value of the insights is miles ahead of traditional methods.

That’s because we know there’s no longer room to wait around for results—sentiment changes as fast as a click of a button. And the speed of market research has drastically increased. This has given marketers a leg up in receiving insights and for brands making applicable changes in real time, optimizing media-purchasing decisions. 

Consumers Crave Connection, and They Want It To Be Personal

Market research creates the opportunity for brands to have an abundance of first-party data at their fingertips. And if brands and marketers have real data about real people, they can create captivating insights and products that genuinely reflect their customers’ preferences.

This starts with asking the right questions. Do your research before setting up a survey, and make sure to consider the following:

  • What are the hot topics in the media right now?
  • What are the questions you need to be asking to help you better understand your target audience?
  • What consumer insights are brands missing?

The answers to these questions can help inform and guide your future brand strategy at a time when budgets are tight and consumer sentiment feels like it’s in a period of constant flux. For instance, look at Spotify. As evident from their recent trends report, they have a definite ear on how to reach Gen Z audiences in the most relevant and authentic way, from issues in culture, the environments, politics, and more.

Reaching Consumers Rapidly and at Scale Amid Change

Big wins for market research boil down to leveraging insights in media to make consequential real-time decisions. Market research can help brands and marketers intercept consumers during the media purchase, whether for pricing or placement.

If tomorrow, a major online retailer is thrown into the whirlwind of a scandal, market research can help gauge where consumers are turning next based on their opinions of brand values, authenticity, and transparency, in a matter of minutes or hours. These accelerated insights have a bigger impact on consumer behavior than typical brand analysis that can take months to work through.

Time is of the essence nowadays. Consumers aren’t willing to wait weeks, or even days, to see change. Market research is the not-so-secret advantage for brands and organizations to continuously keep up with consumer preferences. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need to expect the unexpected—and market research is ready.

Patrick Comer is the founder and CEO of programmatic research technology platform Lucid.

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