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Like all science, research began as an entirely manual process. Responses to surveys were gathered in person or by mail in the 1940s, and the results underwent rigorous coding, tabulation and analysis for insights. Since then, developments in computer science and the internet have made it possible for researchers to collect data swiftly and affordably at scale.
Today, thanks to further advancements in data collection, researchers can gather insights from anywhere in the world (through various channels like email, social media and websites). What’s more, they can leverage the enormous computing capacity of the cloud to simultaneously examine billions of data points — all made possible through market research software.
As SaaS market research platforms become widely available, we no longer require a team of researchers to carry out a study. Anyone in an organization, including marketers and product analysts, can initiate a research study at the press of a button and obtain real-time insights.
Let’s start from the basics and discover more about market research platforms and the role they play in the market research industry today.
Related: 4 Phases of Market Research to Ensure Success
What is an integrated market research platform?
An integrated market research platform takes care of end-to-end market research, including conception, recruitment, sampling, data gathering and analysis. It streamlines market research methodology and processes into an online platform for ease of use and ongoing insight creation.
Companies, individuals and research agencies utilize research platforms to gather and analyze data, aiding in decision-making. Users can conduct a study, acquire results and turn data into insights — all on one platform — due to the combination of survey tools, analytics and reporting tools.
Why do we need market research platforms?
Researchers are less traditional now than they were, and this can be owed to the demands of the market research industry today. Researchers are required to strike the balance between accuracy and speed. They are expected to embrace technology while staying true to research methodologies. They are asked to surface richer insights but deliver them succinctly.
These demands, however, are easier stated than done.
Not only are these tasks extremely challenging and time-consuming to pull off, but they also create roadblocks to what could be an otherwise straightforward market research process by using a tool.
Related: The Impact of Technology on Market Research
The benefits of integrated market research platforms
Integrated research platforms provide several benefits that address the current industry’s anticipated demands:
For the convenience of every user on the platform, all the tools needed for market research can be integrated into one single space. For instance, qualitative and quantitative research are used for different use cases and hence require different tools. With an integrated market research tool, both functionalities can be consolidated.
Since market research platforms are hosted online, they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, ensuring seamless collaboration between all stakeholders (thereby improving the transformation of insights into action). Studies indicate the future is SaaS-powered; according to Statista, the SaaS market was worth approximately $145.5 billion in 2021 and hit $172 billion in 2022 and is only expected to grow further.
Unlike disparate market research solutions, singular platforms do not require programming knowledge and are easy to use, thereby removing the skills gap or the training required to implement them.
Through direct access to pre-profiled participant panels, integrated platforms are equipped to accommodate both short-term and continuous (long-term) research projects.
By using a tool, you can run multiple studies at once and generate insights more quickly, boosting the likelihood that your ROI will increase. For instance, a marketer can test different advertisements and launch the one that’s the most engaging for the best reach.
Qualtrics’ Market Research Trends report suggests that 67% of organizations planned to acquire new market research technology in 2022 (depicting a 7% increase from 2021).
Steps to adopt market research platforms
There are numerous market research tools available today. Here are some objectives to keep in mind before implementing one:
Prioritize speed and accuracy: In an era of wavering customer loyalty, generating insights isn’t enough. The key is to generate higher-quality insights faster — before your competitors beat you to it.
Move your consumer research online: To ensure maximum speed and efficiency in research without compromising quality, moving research-based activities online is the solution in the digital era we live in currently.
Increase adoption with research and marketing teams: While it is true that researchers aren’t as traditional today, the change is unfortunately not fast enough to keep up with the changes in the market. It is critical to convey the benefits of integrated market research software within research agencies and organizations to increase its awareness and in the long run, its adoption.
Choose an integrated research platform: There is a difference between a market research platform and an integrated research platform. It is advisable to implement a tool that can integrate seamlessly with your present (and future) systems to ensure less development and implementation effort and an overall smoother research process.
Related: 3 Ways to Win Consumer Confidence with Market Research
Because integrated platforms are naturally adaptable, they allow for continuous development and innovative evolution (as they can incorporate any future tools and methodologies). This means that businesses can shape research platforms to meet their specific requirements at any time. New demands can be incorporated to the greatest extent possible, allowing for longevity that other non-integrated platforms cannot achieve.
Streamlining processes such as researcher-participant communication, data reporting and visualization techniques, while fully automating research, is no longer just a concept, but an attainable reality, thanks to integrated market research platforms.