Market Research Via the Internet – Wave of the Future?

The gathering of industry data is important in any industry. The information determines the direction a company will go in to ensure its products are able to fulfill its customer’s needs in the future. How is this data gathered and applied?Traditionally companies utilized mail, phone surveys and outside consulting firms among other methods to obtain this information. However, within the last ten years market research from Internet based sources started to take hold.As with anything else there are advantages and disadvantages of using Internet for market research purposes.Some positives include: The Internet saves professionals the time of gathering information independently. Examples consist of a faster response rate in international markets. More ever, the practice has eliminated the middleman interviewer and allowing instant access to a wide audience at a very low cost.Furthermore some additional benefits of online market research include online surveys offer an element of real-time, allowing researchers to analyze their results at once. These kinds of surveys are easy to create and deploy. Furthermore, online surveys offer participants greater anonymity than other forms of surveys, like direct mail, telephone surveys or door-to-door canvassing. Once the days is used it can repurposed by posting the results on your web site and through social media channels.Some of the arguments against using Internet Research include: The use of the Internet may not be representative of certain populations. Computer penetration and Internet availability are low in some parts of Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe a true sample which represents the population could be difficult to obtain.The latest industry data indicates the positives are winning out. According to an IBIS World Report in 2010 37% of 14.1 billion dollars generated by the Market Research industry within the United States was Internet based.The report went on to state the Internet and social media have recently shifted the dialogue between market researchers and consumers. Professionals in the business can now monitor consumer opinions by establishing message boards, online forums and ratings systems. These methods allow companies to bypass paid participants in a focus group to reach and connect with an active audience.In conclusion, the IBIS publication added the Internet also gives researchers the opportunity to target and engage specific audiences and obtain critical data such as which competing products and services they are using and how satisfied your customers are with your products.Overall, the importance of internet-based market research will increase as population segments continue to fragment and social media continues to blossom.

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