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Agile Research

We live in an age where the only constant in life is change. In this fast changing environment, the quick implementation of actionable insight can help companies succeed in a world marked by considerable uncertainty and volatility. This has led to the growth of so-called “agile market research”, which typically entails conducting research frequently and quickly. This process is interactive, allowing for short studies and experiments, frequent feedback, and the ability to react to changing conditions. Whilst some skeptics question the compatibility of agility with traditional market research tools, this article will look at some of the (easily overcome) obstacles that potentially hinder this.

In Focus: Online Bulletin Boards

In recent years, advancements in technology have provided market researchers (much like any other industry) with a plethora of new or modified tools that can be utilized to improve the efficiency of information gathering. One such tool that has become available to researchers is the concept of an Online Bulletin Board.

Focus Groups 2.0

An article in The Wall Street journal exploring various innovations in technology, big data and social media monitoring argued that the focus group was no longer relevant as a market research tool. It posited that given the various available tools for consumer listening, focus groups were no longer needed. In contrast to the article, Panaly would argue that focus groups are not dead and if anything, recent technological developments have amplified their importance and role within market research.

Artificial Intelligence in Market Research

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is becoming a significant aspect of our everyday life visible in aspects such as Netflix movies and Amazon products recommendations, hobbies related advertising, Uber prices establishing, email spam filters, smart personal assistant (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant), text words prediction and correction, Facebook friends suggestion and so on.

Theses AI-powered tools widely ease our day-to-day existence, which makes one wonder how relevant are they from a work perspective? Interestingly, according to a Narrative Science recent study, 80% of executives believed that A.I. could improve work productivity and performance. Within the market research framework too, AI-powered tools can potentially assist marketers and researchers in a variety of ways as explored below.  

Does Big Data Live up to its Hype?

The last decade has been characterized by extraordinary developments in technology. As computer power has increased exponentially, so too has the volume of data. This has resulted in countless opportunities in industries as varied as market research, healthcare and retail. One particular manifestation of this has been in the form of Big Data.

How can market research be used for your business?

While market research is often mentioned as a way to assist a business in its growth, the various ways it can be used to attain this goal are not always understood or even known.

Is All Data Equal?

As data collection techniques embrace a more digital approach, researchers and marketers alike find themselves increasingly inundated with data from different sources- whether first party, second party or third party data. Whilst there is inherently value in all data sources, it would be naïve to assume that all three hold equal value across different contexts.

Beyond Traditional Models of Segmentation

Some sixty years ago, Wendell R Smith developed the idea of segmenting consumers in a bid to better understand their purchasing patterns and motivations. Since then, the concept has become firmly entrenched in the fields of marketing and market research. As technology continues to revolutionize consumers’ shopping habits however, some are beginning to question whether segmenting consumers on the basis of demographics is still relevant today?

In-house vs. Third Party

Market research can take a number of shapes and forms, from general market studies to employee or customer satisfaction surveys to feasibility studies and business plans, etc. Once the initial decision to conduct market research has been made, another key decision relates to whether the research should be conducted in-house or whether a third-party provider should step in.

Playing with Privacy

In July 2016, an augmented reality game took the world and social media by storm. Launched by Niantic Labs, Pokémon Go became the most downloaded mobile app within the first week of its release in the history of the App Store. Twelve months on, no app launch has come remotely close to taking its place.

In Focus: Research Panels vs. Communities

Although the terms research “panels” and “communities” are often used interchangeably, especially by those new to the market research field, these two tools do differ in important ways and one is often more appropriate than the other depending on specific research objectives.

In Focus: Exploratory Research

An exploratory study is typically carried out when there is no clearly-defined problem or hypothesis. When properly conducted, good exploratory research can facilitate the discovery of new ideas and concepts. Often taken as a preliminary step within a wider research process, adopting an exploratory frame of mind can help deepen the findings of any qualitative research. Brands that are looking to conduct research that is exploratory in nature however, should be wary of three common pitfalls.

Why respondents don’t want to answer your survey

At one point in our lives, it is likely that we have all been asked to participate in a survey- be it online, face-to-face or over the phone. At one point in our lives, it is even likelier that we have rejected this request to participate in a survey. In light of this tendency for respondents to step away from requests to participate in research, GRIT recently undertook a comprehensive study to better understand the reasons behind this (and what could be done about it).

Advertisement or Survey?

Brands have recently been experimenting with the distribution of market research surveys within display ads. At first glance, this would appear to be an innovative way for brands to ask questions in an online setting where the consumer is already engaged. However, upon closer look, the distribution of market research surveys within ads poses certain limitations. 

Beyond Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROI) has long since served as one of the primary metrics to calculate business success. Whilst there is no denying the value of the KPI, recent innovations from the neurosciences to social media have expanded the definition of profitability to encompass more than just sales figures or profit margins. It is in this context that firms looking to create sustainable customer relationships must increasingly consider developments in the field of psychology and focus on the emotional needs of consumers. 

Maintaining Ethics in the Digital World

In recent years, market research has come to embrace new and innovative forms of data collection techniques, in particular via online or digital platforms. This is reflective of a global trend whereby consumers are spending more and more time online, voluntarily sharing large chunks of information across different social media platforms. 

Predictions for Qualitative Research in 2018

As the end of the year approaches, it is not uncommon for individuals to reflect on the previous year as well as make predictions for the next one. Part of our role as researchers lays in leveraging data to predict future trends. By taking a retrospective look at some of the developments in 2017, the following presents a speculative look at what 2018 has in store for qualitative research. 

Need for Speed- but at what cost?

In an increasingly globalized and competitive business environment, time is of the essence. Companies across different industries are increasingly seeking to gain market and consumer insight within shorter periods of time. Whilst technological developments such as Big Data or Online Panels facilitate this, it is worth asking whether the drive for speedy research results has been at the cost of quality respondents. 

Delivering the Right Reward

According to industry reports, over half of market research respondents participate in studies with the aim of receiving rewards or prizes. Given that consumers are being rewarded across various aspects of their life from credit card purchases to travel, this comes as no surprise. Consumers are growing increasingly used to being in control and are becoming more demanding in their interactions, a point that strongly feeds into the mindset when assessing research incentives. 

Vision, Innovation and Determination- Lessons from a Young Country

From small and uncertain beginnings, the UAE has not only transformed itself into a regional powerhouse but an international one too. Forty-six years after the unification of the seven emirates, it is worth taking a closer look at the country and how far it has come in such a short period of time. 

Feasibility Studies and Business Plans- What’s the Difference?

When starting a business or considering a new venture, entrepreneurs are often recommended to undertake a feasibility study and create a business plan in order to mitigate risk and to make more informed decisions. Whilst both studies are typically conducted in the early stages of a potential business venture and have some overlap, it is important to understand the differences between both planning tools

Is poor translation skewing your research data?

Home to over 200 different nationalities, the UAE is often described as being “multicultural” or a “melting pot of cultures”. Indeed, its rich demographic makeup contributes in large part to the country’s success. However, for individuals or firms that are seeking to gain insight into this diverse consumer base, underestimating language barriers and cultural nuances can significantly hinder the gathering of reliable data.  

Value Added Tax in the UAE

The GCC region, often heralded as being a tax-free haven, will see the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in 2018. VAT is an indirect tax based on the consumption of goods and services. The UAE and KSA will be the first GCC countries to introduce the tax, effective from 1st January, 2018. As the deadline approaches, it is worth taking a closer look at the indirect tax as well as some of its implications within the region. 

The Importance of Screeners

Every product, service or solution has a target audience. Depending on the brand, some target audiences may be narrow whilst others may be broad. Whilst identifying a brand’s target segment may seem easy enough, finding the right participants for a research study sometimes poses unexpected difficulties. The value of a research project lays in its ability to deliver actionable insight. However, if the right respondents are not participating in the research, the findings are ultimately rendered useless. This is why screener questions play a vital role in ensuring, insofar as possible, that the right people are taking part in a study. 

Millennials: Re-Shaping Marketing

Referring to individuals born from the 1980s to 2000s, millennials are anticipated to change how companies do business. Being one of the largest generations, it is anticipated that they will have a significant impact on the economy in the near future and the years to come. Their importance is further underscored by the fact that they tend to be highly influential and therefore, even impact the wants and needs of the older generations.

In-Focus: Market Research

Market research can serve as an enabling tool for companies or entrepreneurs, whether by gaining a better understanding of competitors, consumers or the wider macro-environment. Such information can be gathered through a variety of qualitative and/or quantitative means. Qualitative research tools can include in-depth interviews and focus groups whilst quantitative research tools can refer to techniques such as surveys. Whilst market research can play an invaluable role in helping a firm succeed, there are certain points worth considering in relation to research. 

Emotional Intelligence in Market Research

When looking at successes attained in life, studies have found that those with average IQs often surpass their peers with higher IQs. Are IQ tests then not a good measure of success or is there something else at play in these situations? Following several years of research, it is now thought that emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in determining success and explains why those with lower IQs can potentially outperform their “more intelligent” peers. 

In Focus: Sin Tax

Earlier this year, the UAE’s Ministry of Finance announced the introduction of an excise tax on products such as energy drinks, carbonated drinks and tobacco. The excise tax, also dubbed the “sin tax” came into effect on October 1, 2017. In light of this, Panaly takes a quick look at what the so-called “sin tax” entails along with some of its potential wider implications. 

Emojis: The future of mobile surveys or just a research fad?

Smartphones have become an almost ubiquitous aspect of our daily lives. Within the MENA region, the number of smartphone connections has more than doubled between 2013 to 2016, to reach 263 million in 2016. In fact, the UAE has amongst the highest smartphone adoption rate in the world, with over 80% of connections being smartphones (the global average is around 65%). 

Measuring Corporate Social Activities Responsibly

In recent years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become somewhat of a buzzword in corporate circles. Across the world, businesses are increasingly seeking to take broader ownership of their actions beyond their legal responsibilities, focusing on aspects such as the environment, their employees or the wider social community. 

Actions speak louder than words… or do they?

Behavioral Science is a topic of much discussion and interest within the market research community. Unlike biology or chemistry, it is not a strict science; however its main premise is based on the idea that individuals have limited “introspective access” to their cognitive processes. Considering the fact that most forms of market research rely on self-reporting in order to gain insight, Behavioral Science appears to be at conflict with research tools such as surveys or focus groups. Following the old adage that “actions speak louder than words”, we cover three points that contest this statement and argue for a more integrated approach.  

In Focus: Dubai Expo 2020

In November 2013, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) announced that Dubai would be the next city to host the Expo 2020, effectively making it the first city in the Middle East and North Africa to host a World Expo. The World Expo is an event that takes place every five years and is said to be the world’s third-largest noncommercial event in terms of economic and cultural impact. Set over a six month period, World Expos attract millions of visitors and generate considerable new business contracts and investments. However, debates are plentiful in relation to whether the benefits really outweigh the costs. 

In Focus: Company Health Check

How do I grow my business? How do I make my operations more efficient?  Most of us have pondered over these (and other similar) questions at some stage within the lifecycle of our businesses. In order to grow one’s business and achieve our next set of corporate objectives and goals, an important first step is to gain an unbiased understanding of the current status of the business and its operations.

Customer Experience: A Key Differentiator

In today’s highly competitive market, customer experience has become crucial in determining the success of a business. As how a company delivers its products becomes just as important as what product a company is offering, corporate entities that are able to impart truly positive customer experiences have a distinct advantage over their competitors.

In-Focus: Focus Groups

Focus groups are a form of qualitative research, commonly utilized when testing consumer preferences and trends. These typically entail conducting guided or open group discussions with ten or  less  participants (an average of 5 to 6 participants in each group is typically recommended). Several focus group sessions are typically conducted in order to diminish any outliers or irregular group differences. 

Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail

You have a product or service that you think is different from the rest, and you cannot wait to get it out to market. Although entrepreneurs are generally known for being more open to risk and relying largely on their instinct, it is important to step back for at least a moment and cast an objective or even critical eye on your business idea.

Reaching the Hard-to-Reach: Conducting Research in the Luxury Segment

Dubai often makes headline news across the world for a multitude of reasons. Whether it’s in relation to being home to the world’s tallest building or selling the world’s most expensive coffee, it goes without saying that Dubai, along with much of the GCC, is synonymous with luxury and affluence.

The Value of Mystery Shopping: From Luxury to FMCG and Beyond

In 2014, the UAE’s luxury goods market was estimated to be worth USD 8.98 billion, fueled by spending from residents as well as tourists. Despite the sector having seen considerable growth over the years, ongoing economic and political concerns across the region are making luxury a harder sell than before.

Crossroads in Market Research: The Traditional v Contemporary Debate

Social media is taking the world by storm and the Arab region is no exception to this. Market research firms are increasingly adopting alternative market research methods that are able to capitalize on these large and active networks that industry stakeholders are beginning to question whether the more traditional forms of market research (face to face interviews

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