Market research has evolved over the past few years to encompass data gathered via social media monitoring and website analytics. Whilst these relatively new technologies provide a useful service to companies, they cannot replace traditional market research. Accurate market research remains vital to developing an effective marketing strategy. These are some of the reasons why…
1) Certain customers and prospective customers may not be the type of people to share their opinions online. Therefore, only opinions from more vocal people, who may have no intention of buying, will be visible.
Consumers that review products and services online are often part of a different demographic group, with significantly differing opinions and shopping habits, to consumers that do not post their opinions on social media.
Many people do not regularly post their opinions of products whilst engaging in a social media conversation with friends – occasionally someone may vent about particularly poor performance, and even less often, may extol the virtues of a superb experience.
Brands need to find out if those consumers, who are vocal about their products and services, are part of their target market. If not, their opinions are not representative of the customer base. Opinions of buyers and prospective buyers must be sought using a different method.
2) A company may inadvertently develop a poor marketing strategy based on incorrect information. Incorrect information may input by consumers to their social media accounts for security reasons.
With the rise in hacking, consumers may input incorrect personal information such as date of birth, location and employment details to their social media accounts. There are also many social media users who embellish, or completely fabricate information about themselves via their social media accounts. It’s unclear as to how many people supply accurate information.
Additionally, the volume and type of information held by a social media account is limited and may not lend itself to the type of consumer research required to inform a business decision. For example, not everybody provides their educational history.
3) If your online shoppers are browsing and buying whilst logged into a family member’s Google account, Google Analytics will show you incorrect shopper demographics.
Google Analytics data is fed by the data people supply to their Google accounts. Some people may not have Google accounts, some people may use the family computer and not bother to log into their own Google account, others may have input incorrect information to their profile. If a primary target market consists of any of these demographic groups, a company may only be able to gather limited information from Google Analytics.
Companies need to base their marketing strategies on accurate data to develop the most effective marketing plan. GIGO also applies to marketing planning…. garbage in, garbage out.
There are many more reasons why companies need both market research as well as online data to generate optimum sales. We’ll be taking another look at traditional market research and online data in our next blog.