As the global pandemic is rapidly changing every aspect of our society, the need for data now is greater than ever in these uncharted waters. COVID-19 is forcing massive shifts in market and consumer behavior, and market researchers must adapt and respond quickly in order to define a new strategy around data collection and research priorities.
Although firms may put a pause on consumer insights and market research studies to wait for society to “return to normal,” COVID-19 has already created a drastic and lasting impact. Those who understand this opportunity and have begun setting sail in uncharted waters will have a running start in this new era brought on by COVID-19.
So how do you begin, and what are the things to look out for?
Be perceptive to new opportunities
With the effects of quarantine and COVID-19-related policies, many consumers are being forced to drastically alter their way of life - heck, we all are. This requires companies to provide new services, new products, and different messaging. In other words, this is the perfect opportunity for market researches to look closely for areas of opportunity. How should your organization evolve to serve its customers? What new position should you take? What about messaging?
Focus on short-range tactics, not long-range
As many industry landscapes are changing, it’s important to hone your time and efforts on short-range tactics. A deep focus on long-range research may prove to be difficult and ineffective, as the environment will continue to change. Instead, aim to gauge how your consumers’ attitudes and priorities are evolving from their previous standings - these may be subtle fluctuations or large shifts. Make sure to address the proper objectives before beginning your research.
Gain a deep understanding of your consumers’ environmental and psychological circumstances
To better inform your research responses, it is crucial to evaluate your respondents’ environmental circumstances and psychological conditions. Does their location have low rates of coronavirus, or is it a hotspot? What measures has their local government taken in response? Have they been personally affected by the pandemic? Questions like these will provide valuable context in understanding your consumers’ changing needs and attitudes.
Take advantage of online market research methods to drive your research
Look into online market research methods that you’ve yet to use, and reevaluate your pre existing methods. With a solid overview of your choices, consider developing your own system of online research or partnering with existing companies built for online market research. Finally, be sure to take advantage of respondents, as they are more willing and more accessible than ever with quarantine.
Adapt to interpret new forms of data
As in-field research is taking a halt and online research is thriving, new forms and models of data must be collected to drive results forward. This may be outside of your comfort zone, but being agile and adapting to this new input is crucial. Devote time and effort to learning, take advantage of the tools that exist, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Make sure your current offering supports your changing customers, and recalibrate if needed
Connect with your consumers, prospects, and stakeholders to see if your current offerings and messaging still resonate. Most importantly, be open to the changes suggested and carefully evaluate their opinions. If you’re lucky, there may be no need to change. However, the majority of companies are shifting drastically. Some companies are entirely phasing out their current offerings, while others are only evolving parts of it as it relates to COVID-19’s impact. If you are the latter two, see this as a golden opportunity to arise from the ashes as something greater.
Of course, don’t forget to encourage your team!
These are frightening and uncertain times. The first step to positivity and improvement is to humbly accept the drastic changes as well as the ambiguity. With this attitude, encourage yourself and your team to work empathetically together and for the consumers. An open mind and positive attitude will help drive progress.
As a supplier to the market research industry, FocalCast is constantly involved in the industry’s evolution. After COVID-19 erupted and began affecting organizations all around the globe, we are more committed than ever to provide support, value, and powerful insights.
If you’re looking to gather easy, valuable research on your consumers in this changing landscape, let us help. Book a free demo with us, and let us drive your company forward in this time of uncertainty.
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